This article may get mixed feelings, but I feel it is important to share as a Christian in order to convey my heart on a controversial issue. Our nation experienced a great tragedy, one that revealed a cruel side of humanity. That cruelty took the lives of 49 individuals. If I stopped right there, and you knew nothing else, just that 49 people were killed, you would find it tragic and probably feel anger towards whoever did this misdeed. Now, what if you knew they were from the LGBTQ community?
After the events of June 12th, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, many people, many Christians threw words of hate towards the victims, saying they deserved it because of their sin. As a follower of Christ, their responses made me genuinely angry and upset. You can disagree with someone's lifestyle, but justifying a massacre? NOT ACCEPTABLE.
I have known many in the LGBTQ community over the course of my life, and most of them have held a special place in my heart, why? Because just as God created me in His image, He created them in His image. My heart resonated with the opening scene of Sia's new music video "The Greatest". Maddie Zielger slowly looks at you with tears in her eyes as she drags rainbow stripes across her cheeks. As she makes her way through a dim house, you see the bodies of children, 49 to be exact.
I think about those 49 lives; someone's daughter, son, brother, sister, father, mother, etc. I also thought about my friends in that community, it could have been one of them. Losing those friends to that kind of hate would tear me up inside.
In the words of the host of the Pas de Chát: Talking Dance podcast, Barry Kerollis, "But it's all just the same. It's just another tragedy that happened to people like me...Silence is what was wanted from the evil that walked in that club."
I don't want that to be "all just the same" for my friend's community because that is not compassion. That should not have to become a norm that is just dealt with because that creates fear. That evil Barry spoke of looks past the individual and looks at mistakes or differing opinions.
I want to look at any person, from the LGBTQ community or not, as a person, not a product of their life choices. Will I hold a different belief from that community and their lifestyle? Probably, but I will hold to the fact that my God gives me grace and calls me to love out of the love He has given me. So when I use #LoveWins, I use it as a measure of the Christ follower that I want to be, the kind that keeps on loving, despite our differences.
If I could, I would be standing next to Maddie in Sia's video, crying alongside her, because nothing justified Orlando. May her anthem bring a strong awareness to where our nation went wrong. #LetLoveWinAgain