Thursday, June 18, 2015

Known by love

See their faces. Read their stories. Feel the pain of their loved ones. This is beyond senseless. It's an obvious act of hatred, but it's more than that. It's an attack from Satan. An attack inside the doors of the church by someone who, for an hour at least, tried to act like he belonged there. Amid all the necessary discussion about race, don't miss this profound truth: THEY TOOK HIM IN. This young white man walked into a church full of African-Americans, in a city in the deep South, and was welcomed. He wanted to sit by the pastor, and the pastor didn't turn him away. They weren't afraid of his differences. To the end, they modeled Jesus' intention that disciples are known by their love.

And then he killed 9 of them.

The devil may have laughed, but don't think for a minute that he won. He didn't. Jesus said, "On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18). The language is active, speaking of a church moving forward to attack hell itself. That means when we are fighting the right battles, we get close to the gates of hell, and the fires might singe us. But Jesus promises victory is certain.

This church's love was evident to the end. Love won the victory. It didn't die with them. The gates of hell did not prevail. That's the all-important religious aspect to this story, something we all should remember.

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