Last Sunday people across the world heard of the evil that took 49 lives and wounded 53 human beings in Orlando, Florida.
I found out about the gut-wrenching story from my pastor as he summarized what happened and then led the congregation in a heartfelt prayer for victims and their families. We also prayed for the shooter’s family.
I struggled to maintain composure while being overwhelmed with grief and mourning for those I didn’t even know. Pouring out our hearts before God, we collectively prayed for Him to comfort, to heal, and to bind up the wounds.
Later, as I learned the details of the shootings, I continued to weep.
Trying to process the horror of what just happened that day I conversed with my husband. We talked about how as believers in Jesus we are called to love above all else. We also talked about how there would be those who would try to push their own agendas, whether political or religious.
Two days later, media outlets reported on a local Sacramento pastor who praised the attacks, preaching a polar opposite of what I and thousands of other local believers were feeling.
Pastor Roger Jimenez actually appealed to his congregation not to mourn, saying that Christians “shouldn’t be mourning the deaths of 50 sodomites” (“Pastor Refuses To Mourn Orlando Victims“). He further equated homosexuality with pedophilia, saying:
People say, like: Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died? Here’s the problem with that. It’s like the equivalent of asking me — what if you asked me: Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um, no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society…”
And he kept going…
As I watched another video of his comments to one of the local news channels, I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I was now weeping not only for the victims and their families but also for the fact of how grossly inaccurate this pastor’s understanding of God’s heart is.
I was hurting.
Hurting because his words brought even more pain into our world.
Hurting because I felt he shouldn’t even be a pastor if he so unashamedly misrepresents God’s heart.
Hurting because the media blasted this story all over the country but ignored the many other local pastors who, together with their congregations, lovingly lifted up the victims and their families in collective prayers.
My church issued this official statement on its Facebook profile:
Bridgeway Christian Church stands in full agreement with this statement from Sacramento City Pastors Fellowship:
“This past Sunday morning, there was a heartless and heartbreaking statement made by a Sacramento pastor to his congregation related to the shootings in Orlando. It was posted online and then broadcast on the nightly news. These comments, applauding the death of innocent people, are completely contrary to the Bible’s teaching and God’s heart. His statements do not represent Jesus nor hundreds of Sacramento pastors whose hearts have been broken and are praying for the loved ones so tragically affected by this cowardly act. As Sacramento pastors, we are united in our prayers and sadness for those who have lost loved ones and for those even now fighting for their lives. May God’s love prevail in this tragedy.”
Sacramento City Pastors Fellowship
Don & Christa Proctor, Francis Anfuso, Rick Cole, John Jackson, Scott Hagan, Joy Johnson, Lance Hahn, Alex Vaiz, Parnell Lovelace, Kirk Bottomly, Banning Liebscher, Cole & Caitlin Zick (Executive Team)
Later, as I yet again poured out my heart before the Lord, asking Him, “What now?” I began to write this post.
I saw pastor Roger Jimenez as a face of a number of other Christian believers who believe the same things this pastor believes. He was just vocal about it, exercising his freedom of speech. But there is a population of other believers who sympathize with his feelings and have the same erroneous theological beliefs.
Contrary to what this pastor says and contrary to the hate this pastor is promoting, love is at the core of Christianity. Love permeates through everything Jesus taught. He was love. He is love.
God is love… 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Pastor Roger Jimenez is literally accusing me and the other Christian believers who love all people and mourn for the victims and their families of “sugar coating” things. He is also accusing us of “not reading the full Bible,” pointing to Leviticus 18:22.
I did read the Bible. All of it. Many times over.
And I see a loving God, who progressively revealed his holy nature and his sacrificial love for all people.
I know this God personally.
He was the one that healed me from all the deep wounds I carried for years. He was the one that gave me the supernatural ability to forgive a pedophile who molested me. God gave me the ability to see the one who inflicted so much hurt and pain to me through His eyes – a human being in need of freedom from the same bondage I was in before: from sin.
So, when pastor Roger Jimenez tries to demonize homosexuality by equating it with pedophilia and saying that he is not sad that “50 pedophiles were killed,” he is committing a grave error of misrepresenting God’s heart.
He is sinning by hating. 1 John 3:15, 1 John 4:20, and Proverbs 10:12.
He is somehow rationalizing his hate for the homosexual community by calling them pedophiles. Homosexuality is NOT pedophilia. (“Facts About Homosexuality And Child Molestation“)
Through this post, I want to say to pastor Roger Jimenez that even IF it was 49 pedophiles (or 49 of the same men as the one that molested me when I was girl) that were killed instead, I would mourn and weep just the same.
Because THAT is God’s heart…
He loved us so much that “He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
That word “whoever” is an invitation for every human being, whether it is pastor Roger Jimenez, mother Theresa, a serial killer, a pedophile, a drug addict, a rapist, president Obama, or Hitler. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
I pray that pastor Roger Jimenez will change his theology. I pray that he would understand the concept of Law vs Grace as it is taught in Romans chapters 6-8. I pray that he would be so filled with God’s love that all that would come out from his mouth and his life would be love…
This brings me to the second part of this post: “To Judge Or Not To Judge.”
I have no idea if pastor Roger Jimenez would read this post or not. I can only hope that he does.
Regardless, I will continue praying for him to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and to repent for what he said.
Some may call this “judging.”
Many sincere believers point out places like Matthew 7:1-5, Mark 4:24, Luke 6:37-38, and James 4:11-12 in an attempt to stop me from “judging the body of Christ” and “slandering God’s men.”
Ironic is it not?
We forget about John 7:24 and Proverbs 31:9 that say we can judge with “righteous judgment.” And we most certainly forget about 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, where apostle Paul specifically instructs believers to only judge those inside the church while leaving the judgment on those outside of the church to God.
We have it all backwards unfortunately. Or maybe conveniently. Or perhaps because we do not read the full Bible but pluck verses out of context to fit our preconceived beliefs that are not supported by God’s Word.
So I pray that believers everywhere would approach the question of “To judge or not to judge” with great care, basing their decisions on what the Scriptures say, not what we want the Scriptures to say.
I pray that pastor Roger Jimenez would rethink his position, that he would lovingly judge only those inside the church body, that he would leave those outside of the church in God’s hands, and that he would most of all LOVE and not hate…
- “Tears For Orlando”
- “What Is The Difference Between Discernment And Being Judgmental?”
- “The Sin Of Judging Others”
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