I get together about once a month with a long-time friend. We chit-chat, talk about the Lord, laugh, eat, play cards, sometimes weep, talk some more. Thursday after we'd been together awhile, discussion inevitably turned toward the shootings in Orlando, where 49 people were gunned down by a radical Muslim claiming ties to ISIS. His reason: they were, predominantly, homosexuals.
This was a tragic situation. These people did not deserve it. My friend made a comment that I understood but it was as if it didn't need to be further discussed. She said, "Funny how it's always about blood." It wasn't until yesterday morning that I really pondered the comment.
Yes, for both the Christian and Muslim faith it's about blood. There's a difference though. Our Christian faith required one Man to die for all, the shedding of His blood to bring life to many. The radical Muslim faith requires the death of many, all who reject their beliefs, by the shedding of blood by their own hands, bringing death.
The scripture above explains it. Life is in the blood. I brought this up briefly in yesterday's blog. Sacrifices in the Old Testament were all about blood being shed. An animal was sacrificed to atone for the sin of the person offering it up. However, the animal sacrifices were never enough. They had to be done repeatedly. It was a precursor to Christ being sacrificed, killed, His blood being shed, in order to save the lives of anyone who proclaims Him as their Lord and Savior. Except Jesus died only once. And rose again.
We do not share the same God as the Muslim faith. Our God does not promote killing unless it is to fight an enemy, to save lives. Jesus says He is the way, truth and life and no one goes to the Father but by Him.
I do not condone the practice of homosexuality. God tells us clearly that it is a sin...an abomination. I do not despise homosexuals. That's just one sin in a multitude of sins. We have all sinned. There are many common, day-to-day sins we practice. Lying, for instance. Or what about lust? Pornography? Cheating? Abortion? Anger? Impatience? The list could go on. What I'm getting at is I cannot point fingers. My sins are no less than anyone else's.
I read an article that has some people blaming Christianity for this act of violence in Orlando. I can't even wrap my head around that. I cannot imagine saying these 49 people deserved it. True Christians will not hate. Those who call themselves Christians and display hatred are not real Christians; they give true Christianity a bum rap. Then, I read this this morning in my devotion. Perfect timing!
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1John 3:13-15)
This is why we all need Jesus. His blood was shed for each of us. It was shed for the 49 people who died. It was even shed for the man who shot them, as difficult as that may be to understand. This is a truth: Our Lord gives anyone life, as long as they receive Him and turn from their sin. We are totally lost without Jesus.
Like my friend said, Isn't it always about the blood? It is. The blood of the Lamb of God...which gives life. We never know when our last day will be. Death could be swift or an illness could drag on. But one day each of us will die. Have we allowed the blood of Jesus to wash us clean of our sin today and give us eternal life? If not, today is the best day to do so.
Ephesians 1:7 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...