I know this is not simple and there are many issues surrounding yesterday’s events. However, this time, I wanted to say something from the heart.

I grieve deeply at the loss of lives yesterday in Orlando, FL.

It is a time of mourning and grief. These were men and women who are Americans, who are human beings. Who have the same freedom as I. They are part of my American family. Someone has hurt my family. Set aside religious, moral, and political philosophies that are different and the bottom line is that these are people who lost their lives. There are families and friends who are bent over in agony and disbelief hoping they will wake up from this nightmare. It’s not that their hearts hurt so badly….it’s that they can’t stop the hurt inside. The pain of the loss won’t go away. The want the pain they feel to stop, but it won’t. There’s not a pain pill that will stop the agony of a heart that is torn. In the coming days, these family and friends who have lost loved ones will find that they need all their energy to just breathe…to just exist. While the rest of the country is fighting on the political stage – they will be numb. They have a huge hole in their life. I want to extend my arms to them and just hold them and cry with them.

Our friends who are hurting have a choice in the coming days: to fill that hole with anger and bitterness, or allow others to help them heal then stand in unity with the rest of our nation and fight against those who are terrorizing our beloved country and it’s precious citizens.

Our nation has a choice: will we stand with our American brothers and sisters and form a tight bond to fight against all forces that work to divide and destroy our beautiful nation?

Does that mean we forget the issues on the table that divide us so deeply? No. However, let’s extend compassion and mercy to those that desperately need it. Christ followers should be the first to be offering a helping hand. We should set the example for unconditional love – because no one deserves to be hunted down and terrorized.

I do not see different races or different orientations – I see people. People who are hurting and in need of love – and in need of protection.

My fellow Christ followers, let me ask you this…are you willing to form a line, and stand in the gap for our fellow citizens in need? Would you stand outside that bar, as a first-line of defense, for them?

And to our nation as a whole….what will it take to unify us again? When will we see the wolves among our midst and remove them before we are crippled as a nation? When will we be willing to realize that putting a bandage on a severed limb brings no healing but leads to the decay and death of the body?

WE THE PEOPLE have the freedom and the responsibility to protect and care for our own.

Can we all take a moment, sit quietly and reflect on these precious words:

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. (JFK)

Because it is not about demanding your individual rights but about seeing yourself as part of a whole – the part needs all parts – and all parts need to work together. We are not autonomous groups of people – we are different people, with different backgrounds, with different ideas BUT ONE NATION – and we must work together as a whole in order to move and accomplish anything.

Just as God calls his children the “body of Christ”, so also our nation is a body. The toe can not demand that the head, hands, and knee all bow down to it. The shoulder can not decide to live without the neck, torso, or arm. We are not individual communities – we are Americans. We are a country and it is time for us to fight for our country, to fight for our identity, to protect our own and to help heal the members of our body who are in pain right now. Reject those who aim to divide and take the hand of those who are willing to work together to fight for our freedom.

What can YOU do? How can you help our friends heal? How can you show them love and compassion?