Another shooting on a college campus – and this one allegedly targeted Christians. Chris Harper-Mercer, the killer in last Thursday’s mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, apparently asked students if they were Christians before gunning them down. The father of a survivor, Stacy Boylan, told CNN News that Mercer ordered students to stand up and then asked if they were believers. “And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Boylan reported.
Nine people were wounded and 10 died, including the 26-year old gunman, who apparently committed suicide. My prayers and heart go out to those who senselessly lost a friend or loved one. I also feel a measure of empathy for those who, like Mercer, gather anger like curios and can’t seem to find the way out to peace. The church must be a light during these dark times.
After such a tragedy in which Christians are coerced to put their faith on the line, I think it’s only natural that we wonder, “Would I confess Jesus at the point of a gun? Or would I wimp out to save my life?”
It reminds me of the old, heavy-handed illustration of a group of gunmen bursting into a crowded church on Sunday morning. They shout that anyone who stays is going to take a bullet for Christ. Most of the congregation rushes for the doors. Only a handful stay. The gunmen pull off their masks and say to the preacher, “Now that all the hypocrites are gone, Pastor, you can start the service.”
Most of us will not have to face such horrific circumstances, so I think pondering such theoretical situations aren’t all that helpful. Besides, the Bible doesn’t seem all that concerned with us answering the question, “Would I die for Christ?” But having read the scriptures many times, I can’t escape the nagging question, ”Am I living for Christ now?”
“…live in order to please God… (I Thessalonians 4:1)