This week, in a scene that is becoming all too common in our country, an evil, twisted person walked into a public area and killed nine people, injured several others before killing himself.

Also in a scene that is becoming all too common, both sides of the gun debate issue began screaming their collective talking points and neither side listed to the other. So, again, nothing will be done and we will continue to have more and more of these senseless acts of violence and our response will continue to be the same.

As frustrating and depressing as all of that is, it is not the purpose of why I’m writing today. Rather, I want to reflect on why this madman killed the people he killed. If reports are true – and there’s no reason to doubt them – this person went on a deliberate attack on Christians. For the first time in my lifetime – or at least that I’m aware of – people were executed simply because they stood for Jesus Christ.

This shooter walked up to nine of these people and asked them if they were Christian. When they said yes, he shot them and killed them. These people are heroes in my eyes.

They’ve given me pause though. Could I be that strong? If an evil being, who most definitely was under control of Satan, stood before me with a gun pointed at my head and asked, “Are you a Christian?” would I say yes? Knowing that I would never see my beautiful girls or my lovely wife on this earth again?

My first instinct is to answer loudly, “Absolutely! Of course I would! There’s no way I would forsake my Creator!”

And then I think of the apostle Peter. He was mentioned in church today and that’s part of the reason I’m writing this. Peter is the apostle I’m sure I would have been in Jesus’ day. The impulsive one. The loud mouth one. The one who told Christ that he would never forsake him.

And then forsook him three times the day Christ died.

Is that me? If given a chance, would I forsake him? Man, I hope not.

One thing that I’ve noticed about Peter though. Christ loved him anyway. Not because of his flaws or his sins, but despite them. This didn’t make what Peter did ok. It meant that despite what he did, Christ still had faith in him and that led to Peter doing many great things for God.

This gives me hope. That if I were to fail Him, He’d love me anyway and still find use for me.

For me, in the horror of what happened in Oregon, nine people showed that dying for God is noble. But they also made me take a long look at myself in the mirror and question just how noble am I.

I am a Christian. I am proud to be one.

I am also a flawed human being.

Yet God loves me anyway.

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