Greatly Distressed


Dear Woodland Hills Family,

As news of the horrific tragedy in Orlando broke I found myself holding my breath. I was in dread that the shooter would turn out to be some nutcase claiming to be a Christian and doing God’s work in killing gay people.

Amid the senseless loss of life, a sliver of hope emerged. True Christ-followers were seizing this awful occasion to show the compassion and love of Christ. Chic Fil A workers at several Orlando locations departed from their “closed on Sunday” custom so they could prepare meals and deliver them free of charge to first-responders and people donating blood to victims of the shooting. Yes!
However, my reflexive cringe set in the next day when I read what a pastor in California had said in his message only hours after the shooting. “When people die who deserve to die, it’s not a tragedy.” He had the audacity to say we shouldn’t even mourn their deaths!
I refuse to even mention this pathetic pastor’s name. He has no business being a pastor or speaking for Christ-followers. I’ve had dozens of conversations with him in my mind this week. Here are a few of them:
So you claim to speak the truth for Christ, do you?!? He wept over stubborn, unrepentant, headed-for-judgment Israel. (1) Yet you have the audacity to rejoice in the death of the ungodly? Do you not think He will rebuke you as He did James and John when they wanted to call down fire on a spiritually resistant town? (2)
The Lord says, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (3) And yet you rejoice that their season for repentance has ended? You–a man–would shut salvation’s door on them? You would thrust them prematurely into eternity?!? Do you really think your heart reflects the Lord’s?
Sir, you have forgotten from whence you yourself have fallen! (4) By grace you have been saved. (5) Repent, therefore, or face the Lamb’s coming and His removal of your lampstand. (6) You call yourself a pastor, but by this you have given occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme! (7) Repent at once, lest you find yourself at war with the One who has the sharp, two-edged sword. (8)
Sir, you have that despicable, better-than-them attitude of Jonah, whom God rebuked for his lack of compassion and for wanting to see the people of Nineveh perish in judgment. And though you have the story of Jonah for your instruction, your heart is hard to the lesson! Beware!
Friends, mark it down! If someone is unconcerned or even rejoicing as people enter a Christ-less eternity he is thoroughly off base, in grave error, and absolutely does notspeak for God. Stay away from him!
I am greatly distressed at this,
 Paul sign white
(1) Luke 19:41, ff.
(2) Luke 9:55
(3) Ezekiel 33:11
(4) Revelation 2:5
(5) Ephesians 2:8-9
(6) Revelation 2:5
(7) 2 Samuel 12:14
(8) Revelation 2:12, 16