By: Woodrow Lucas
At 2am this past Sunday, 29 year old, Omar Mateen, gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Some fundamentalist Christians believe that gay people live in sin by expressing their sexuality openly. Some people call Omar Mateen a monster, and what he did monstrous. Some people believe that Muslim immigrants are dangerous. Some people believe that all mentally ill people are problematic and have very little to offer. Some people believe that all human beings that do not confess Jesus as Lord before they die, will go to a hellish torment which they will deserve and which will last forever. Some liberals think that Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to American politics since Ronald Reagan. Some Conservatives think that Obamacare is a form of Socialism.
When I was a young preacher and read the story of Jesus and his passion, I was petrified of ever becoming like Judas. For this man betrayed the ever living Son of God, and surely that was worst thing a person could do. When I say Namaste to people, roughly paraphrased, “The divinity in me salutes the divinity in you,” I mean it every time. I truly believe that every one of us has the spark of God within us. But what about people like Hitler? What about slave owners in the South who molested young defenseless slaves for sport? What do we do with monsters and their monstrous acts?
Some people believe that homesexuals are monsters and that they are destroying the fabric of modern society. Can a person who was born with a sexual preference be compared to someone who systematically exterminated millions of people just because they believed in the Torah? Should we as human beings be comparing ourselves in the first place? Should we as human beings be categorizing ourselves into monsters, less monstrous, lewd, lascivious, righteous, holy, judgmental, evil, good? Are these categories useful in the long run?
At 2am this past Sunday 29 year old, Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Does his act signify the end of a fallen society? Does his act signify the beginning of a sequence of apocalyptic events which finally separate the righteous from the evil, and set the good free from the fallen?
Around 2020 years ago, my hero, Jesus Christ was born. And he was powerful beyond imagination but his love far outstretched his power. And when he became a man and started his ministry he had a disciple named Judas. And Judas could not understand a man who claimed to be the answer for humanity. Judas could not comprehend that a mere man, could be so important. And so Judas betrayed Jesus. And some say that Judas committed suicide and others say that Judas’ bowels fell out onto a field of blood. But all say that his end was not good.
When I was a young preacher, I got very sick and felt torment most of the time. And I saw no hope. But then my hero, Jesus, told me a secret. He told me that when he died on the cross, he knew that if he could rise, he would secure the destinies of all human souls. And then he rose.
I am sad about Omar Mateen. I am sad for his victims. I am sad for him. And I want to one day meet Judas. And thank him for his strength to be the evil to my good, to be the lost so that I might be saved. And then I want to embrace him and ask “So how long have you been here and where is Jesus?” Some people are afraid of Donald Trump. But I believe that a time will come when they and Trump drink the same wine of redemption from the same eternal river of Joy. Because the truth is, that despite all of the tragedy and darkness and pain, Judas is a good man who deserves my compassion, and a happy ending awaits us all.