By Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
This Sunday morning America woke to learn of the horrific mass murder in Orlando. My heart is grieved over the senseless and savage execution of fellow humans. Every act of murder is hate—wherever, whenever. As the pundits tried to make sense of the tragedy, voices emerged that scurried for explanations, reasons, and rationale for acts which make no real sense.
On the Tony awards that evening, decorated actor Lin-Manuel Miranda shared a sonnet in which he proclaimed that “love is love, is love, is love, is love…” to the uproarious applause of the audience. His words may have acted as a salve to the audience’s raw and wounded hearts, but in reality, his statement was a lie! In fact, it is because of “love” the shooter risked his life to murder people he did not know. He “loved” his ideology, whatever that might be. He “loved” his hate more than he even loved his life. Thus, we can only conclude that all “love” is not the same.
We live in a world with a continually shifting definition of love. We define love as whatever makes you feel good, your personal pleasure, doing what you feel is right, believing whatever you want to believe, expressing your ideas, thoughts, life-choices, proclivities, and political ideologies. We say we “love” everything: our phones to sports, our pets to the latest song, our sweet grandmother or our political affiliation, our religion to our rage. But the kind of love and the source of that love determines how you live. Words mean something and beliefs matter. Ultimately, how we live demonstrates what we love. All “love” is not the same. We desperately need love, but not just any “love.”
God is love, but not the kind of boundary-less, nebulous, and ultimately meaningless love the world touts. God’s love is extended to everyone, everywhere, with an invitation to a meaningful, joyous life He has created for us. God’s love is not ethereal, not just ideological or theoretical, but a genuine love that is demonstrated best in the Gospel. God so loved us that He gave His very son for the redemption of mankind (Jn. 3:16). That is real love—love that sacrifices at great cost, not one that simply satisfies personal pleasures, passions, or pursuits.
The world desperately needs real love, God’s love, a love that doesn’t seek to destroy others, but seeks to serve and care for others. The world needs to see that love is not a feeling. It is an action lived out in loving ways by people who are willing to get messy, to risk big, to give lavishly and sacrifice all for the good of others.
I pray those who know real love will rise up and serve, love, care, give, sacrifice, and most importantly share the great love they know.
I’m praying for Orlando, for those who have lost those they love, for those who are watching the response of each of us, and for those who are scared, frightened, and uncertain of what their tomorrows will hold. Real Love is with us and He has an answer. I pray we all find it.