The image above depicts a pulse. The list below depicts the names of individuals whose families have been notified that they no longer have a pulse. It is a list of lives that were lost this weekend to hatred. The names in this list are not strangers. They are not defined by the fact that they lost their lives in an LGBT establishment. They are the names of sons and daughters. They are the names of brothers and sisters. They are the names of friends, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. Members of our human family were lost and instead of spouting rhetoric or pushing some political agenda, ALL humans should be grieving right now.
My firstborn packed her belongings last summer and moved to Orlando in pursuit of her dreams. In the early morning hours of June 12th, as I learned of the terrorist attack that had taken place during the night, I held my breath for a moment as I tried to reach her. The goal of terrorism is to inflict fear. Mission accomplished.
The moment I knew that my daughter was safe, I was overcome with dread. I KNEW that people with platforms would immediately use the attack to promote an agenda. For those who’ve done so, I have some harsh words.
If you’re doing anything other than LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR right now, STOP IT!
Mark 12:30-31 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. No other commandment is greater than these.”
Who’s “your neighbor”? It’s the LGBT family with a child on your son’s baseball team. It’s the Muslim family living at the end of your block. It’s the Republican living to your left and the Democrat living to your right. It’s the gun-owner standing in line with you at the grocery store and the journalist on the mat next to you in your yoga class. Every. Single. Human. Being. Is YOUR NEIGHBOR!
Using tragedy to promote an agenda, be divisive, or to justify prejudice and hatred, is sin. Plain and simple.
1 John 4:18 … Love expels ALL fear…
When you’re busy loving, fear is expelled. If you’re afraid right now, I have a solution for you. Get busy loving!
Take a moment to read this list of names. They’re our neighbors. They are/were loved. They deserve to be grieved.
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old