I was in Starbucks this morning preparing the finishing touches of this weekend’s message when I took a break to check the news on my iPad.
I’m an emotional person and I typically keep my emotions in-check until I’m in private. Today was an exception. Tears streamed down my face as I stared numbly into the screen. People who hadn’t heard were staring. People I knew seemed as though they were afraid to talk to me because they didn’t know why I was crying. They were trying to respect my space politely.
I packed-up my Bible, my notebook and my iPad and, head down in tears, I made my way to my vehicle. Once inside, a series of agonizing screams, obscenities, moans and groans left my being. Every ounce of strength I had entered both of my hands as I squeezed the steering wheel. In the end, I felt helpless. I was helpless. Not nearly as helpless as the parents in Connecticut feel.
I am a pastor. I don’t have the answers. I don’t understand. I know what many Christians who have their children today are saying. I’m not interested in what they have to say. I am interested in what Christians would say in the presence of those parents who will identify their children on the scene, who will make the funeral arrangements, who will pick out what their deceased child will wear in the casket, who will pick out the small casket, who will walk in and past that child’s special-made room every single day, who will never hear the little laughs and see the joy of their innocent child, who will….who will…who will…
I can go on and on. My encouragement to you, pastor, leader, follower of Jesus…be careful with your encouraging words. Do not use “Christianese.” Encourage your people, friends and family the same way you’d encourage the victims’ families. Choose your words very, very carefully.
May God’s presence be sensed by all affected.