Since I started blogging, I’ve had a number of posts that have gone “Christian viral” and one that went “viral viral.” I’ve received messages from all over the world, positive and negative, regarding what I had written. Some declared support and praise for what I shared while others challenged and disagreed with my sentiments.
But this week is the first time I’ve ever been messaged, more than once, about what I have not written. My silence regarding the events that happened Sunday in Orlando has not gone unnoticed. On one hand, I am honored that my opinion on this matters to some and they want to know my take on the event. On the other hand, I find myself very cautious about adding my voice to the discussions surrounding Orlando and hesitant to even write this post. If it weren’t for what happened this morning, I may not have even entered the conversation, but this morning did happen.
This morning I, along with many of you, read about a young boy who was attacked and presumably killed by an alligator at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. I read the article while my own little boy was snuggled in next to me, safe and secure, drowsily waking up from his night of sleep. The contrast was palpable. Here was my son, blissfully unaware of the horrors of this world, while before me was a scene of immeasurable pain and despair. And as many have pointed out, for Orlando, this was on top of the loss of 49 lives to a shooting spree, and the loss of a young female singer in another shooting.
And, oh, yes, like all of you, I have opinions…strong opinions…about everything surrounding these extraordinarily sad situations. And there’s a part of me that would like nothing more than to “take my stand” and share with you here why I feel the way I do about things like gun control, terrorism, politics, etc.
But this space is not intended for that.
When this blog started, it was intended to help churches and homes transition into ministry that was focused on intergenerational community and discipleship in the home. It was to encourage parents to raise their children with identities rooted in Christ and to challenge churches to surround, support, and equip parents and the home to do just that. And while I may have opinions about other things, this space is set aside and designated for the purpose I felt God calling me to years ago.
So, when it comes to Orlando, and to the great devastation and sadness we see there, I find that I have only this to share.
Go hold your children. Tell them you love them and you always will. Tell them God loves them and He always will. Tell them that evil exists and it always will, but God is good and ultimately good always defeats evil.
And as a member of the church, as Christ’s presence in this world, go tell your neighbor, your friend, that kid in the Sunday school class, the youth in the parking lot, the single guy who seems to be always alone, the young lady who sits by herself, the pastor who is tired, the parent who is grieving, the community who is hurting. Go tell them you love them and you always will because God loves them and He always will. Tell them that evil exists and it always will, but God is good and ultimately good always defeats evil.
This shouldn’t be anything different or new or radical or unusual. We should be doing this already. This should be our normal approach to life, regardless of what is happening. But in the darkest of times, the light will shine brighter. If we are faithful in the good times, He will be faithful in the dark times.
I’ve seen this meme passed around quite a bit this week of Mr. Roger’s conversation with his mother where she tells him in scary situations to “look for the helpers.” We should be the helpers – the ones who pray, and give, and love – and not only when it is noticed, but all the time.
That is discipleship.
It’s an everyday living out of Christ-following through relationship with others and God. And even if it doesn’t stand out as remarkable because the situation is not dire, it is getting noticed by the ones who matter most; the children are watching us.
Let’s not miss that in our zeal to ban or keep our guns or our passion to support or oust the President or our outrage over the right or the left. Let’s make the ethic of loving God and loving others supersede our emotional response and let’s give our kids the chance to see that no matter how unsteady this world is, we are grounded in Christ and Christ alone.
There are times and places when it not only appropriate but necessary for us to share where we stand on the other issues. But when we do, let it come from that place of love and humility, rather than our passion and hostility. If we are living lives that every day testify to loving God and loving others, our words will carry much more weight and be much more grace-filled than if we simply react when the dark times arise.
It’s so much bigger than the moment, good or bad; our lives have eternal implications and our words and actions truly matter. It’s imperative that we never forget that who we are in Christ overwhelms what we think about any situation, person, or issue. We are first and foremost HIS and therefore first and foremost LOVE.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com