Tragic Mass Shootings and the Hope of Jesus

a candlelight vigil ceremony

Grace Communion International is one of 40 members of the National Association of Evangelicals. Recently the NAE released this motion.

At a time when terror and violence are wreaking havoc in so many parts of our world, we remember that Jesus also endured persecution and violence on our behalf. Through his suffering, death and resurrection he opened the way to life for all humankind. May the faithful witness of the martyrs “of whom the world is not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38) draw many to put their faith in Christ, our only hope.

I don’t know how you may respond when you hear the back-to-back news of the shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Shock and outrage are common as the news streams across television stations and the internet. And then social media overwhelms us with a wide range of views on what immediate actions are needed (most responses are not helpful).

As Christians we are reminded of how broken this world is, and with the escalation of such stories, it’s easy to become desensitized. As Christians we should mourn and grieve for the senseless loss of lives, while we pray for peace and hope for the families and friends of the victims. And we must not forget to pray for the families of the shooters as well.

As the NAE motion states, “May the faithful witness of the martyrs ‘of whom the world is not worthy’ draw many to put their faith in Christ, our only hope.” The only hope to resolve the broken, violent attribute of humanity is for people to become new creatures in Christ. I pray that the Christian communities in El Paso and Dayton will rise up as genuine representatives of Jesus and be loving peacemakers who can point their neighbors to the only real hope, Jesus. May the church be the church to their communities in crisis.

As we pray for the hurting people of El Paso and Dayton, and the churches that serve them, let’s remember that we are beseeching a living God who is not absent or aloof in these tragedies, but is present in the person of Jesus Christ. We lament for the families whose lives have been forever altered, we lament for the police and medical workers who will be impacted by the memories of these horrific episodes, and most of all we lament the hate that fueled this violence. In our reflection and lamentation let’s be reminded of how much our world still needs to hear about the redeeming work of Jesus, and to be changed from people of anger, hate and violence, to people of love, joy and peace. Let’s be those messengers who tell others about the life-changing Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man.

The news of these tragedies is not as surprising as it once may have been, and unfortunately, we will hear more such reports as time goes by, so how will we respond? The sense of deep pain and loss is natural; the wrongness and the senselessness are also natural, but for those who trust in Jesus, despair is not an option. Despair leads to hopelessness and demise. In tragedies like our country experienced over the first weekend of August, it drives believers to their knees before the throne of heaven, and to come away knowing that as strong and penetrating as our laments may be, they are framed in the hope and promises of a sovereign God who will make all things new in his time. Events that may shake our faith are surprisingly events that build our faith.

Praying for the peace of the world.

Greg Williams

10 thoughts on “Tragic Mass Shootings and the Hope of Jesus”

  1. Thank you for your encouragement. Our hearts should break for what is going on in our world as tragic and sad as these events are, may we as Christian’s reach out with love and concern and when possible share the gospel to those who are lost because we know that the love of jesus is the only answer . I pray that our lights shine brightly In Texas and Ohio in the following weeks and months.

    1. Amen! I am also asking God to provide a Spiritual Leader like Billy Graham, who ministered to all the Presidents, no matter what political party they represented. Our nation could be so much improved if we had someone to guide our leaders spiritually. God’s will be done.

  2. Although these are two, very tragic events, there are mass killing going on in many places within this world. We pray, help, and hope where we can but realize, that this world needs God – the triune God. Making a difference takes on even, a more, deeper meaning, as a light in a dark world.. God loves all humans – even, the culpable in these mass killings.

  3. I have a little difficulty praying for the world when the problem of mass murders appears to be concentrated in our own country. Unless Americans are the most violent people on earth, perhaps our Lord wants us to pray less and begin to ask the hard question: “Why here?”

  4. Amen Brother Greg. I join Jesus and our Christian Brothers and Sisters with bended knee, bowed head, open heart, active feet and loving hands.

  5. Isaiah 1:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

    17 learn to do good;
    seek justice,
    correct oppression;
    bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.

  6. Thank you Greg for keeping us pointed to the world’s only Hope! This present evil world needs saving, needs to be made Right with God and made totally New! That is why God sent the Hope of the world from heaven to do just that. In Jesus Christ who is our Creator, made all men New in Himself! God sent Him for us all and we all were made for Him-to be joined together as one in Him who wills to share His Life as our very own Life! He is the only Way to Peace on earth! Eph 2:14

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