[The following blog post was written by Tim Breene, CEO, World Relief.]
We began this week with heavy hearts over the unimaginable loss of life in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. Fifty lives lost is a tragedy in and of itself. Fifty lives taken by violence is a tragedy on multiple levels. So we, like so many others, mourn on multiple levels.
First and foremost, we mourn the deaths of the victims and for their friends and family who are experiencing overwhelming loss and grief.
We mourn that the LGBTQ community is suffering grievously as a result of violence targeting them.
We also mourn that there are some who will use this tragedy to fan flames of fear against foreigners in general, and refugees and immigrants in particular. We mourn that many of our Muslim friends and colleagues may receive threats, or feel threatened by neighbors unable to look past their nationality and religion.
While we recognize that this tragedy represents a multitude of complex issues, and while we respect rational, healthy debate across the political spectrum, we at World Relief will not shrink from our calling to stand with the vulnerable.
We are committed to being careful not to create more division and fuel the chorus of fear. This was an attack designed to spill terror and manifest hate. Instead, we will love.
We will stand with those around the world who live daily with the reality of war, violence, intolerance and hate. We will continue our work to create a safer, more peaceful world.
We will stand with our Muslim friends, believing that a threat against any religious community is a threat to us all.
We will stand with refugees and immigrants who are facing increasing levels of discrimination in a country they hoped would provide safety and opportunity.
We will stand against bullying, hate and violence of any kind.
Why? Because we believe that Jesus has called each of us to be his hands and feet, working on his behalf to bring order, peace and healing to a chaotic, war-torn and broken world.
Our hope is found in the life-giving, life-affirming message of Jesus, who said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)