3 Things To Do After You #PrayforOrlando

We’ve all heard the news at this point. 50 Americans were killed horrifically in cold blood at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 53, according to the news, are still wounded. The media outlets are flabbergasted. The police work tirelessly to put the pieces together. The cries of families who have lost loved ones still hang in the air.

 It’s a national tragedy.

And if there’s anyone who can mourn with those who mourn, it should be a Christian.

People naturally want to watch how their Christian neighbors respond to this. They want to know—do you even care?

While the answer should be obvious, I have to ask: Well, do we?

While hashtags and prayers fill the air, and obviously should, more is needed to be done. Assuming you’ve already prayed for Orlando and posted something about it on social media, here are three other things you can do now:

1. Give blood

While the need for blood donations is already satisfied in Orlando, this event should teach us all a valuable lesson: who knows when the next catastrophe will hit our local area? Maybe it will be something as drastic as a shooting. Maybe it will be a natural disaster. Blood banks in your area need you, too. If Orlando’s needs are met, start meeting the need in your local community so that when something terrible happens (God forbid), you can know you did your part to help those in need before it was too late.

 2. Start conversations

Most of our interaction over this issue has been online. But humans have an innate need to hash things out, face to face, in the flesh. We were built for community, for human interaction, for facial expressions and hands on the shoulder during crisis. Go outside during a busy time in the neighborhood and strike up a conversation. Ask how this tragedy is making someone else feel. National tragedies have a way of making a whole nation, though divided in many ways over many issues, take a breath and unite together.

Don’t waste that.

Ask your neighbor, coworker, or friend there’s anything going on in their family that feels like a tragedy. Ask to pray for that particular issue. Ask if there’s any way you can minister. Be a face instead of a Facebook post.

3. Reach out to marginalized LGBT youth this week.

Disconnected LGBT teens and young adults have one of the highest rates of suicide attempts. [1] [2]

Many of these teens have been bullied and feel like there’s no one they can talk to or feel safe with their sexual questions. Teens in general undergo an identity stage, and those struggling with their sexual identity need compassionate and approachable adults to discuss these things with. Have you ever thought about heading to your nearest homeless shelter or rescue mission and getting to know the people there? You’d be surprised how many are LGBT teens who have been thrown out of their house and need a mentor in their life.

Maybe you won’t have trek all the way to the shelter. Maybe there’s someone struggling with their identity in your family as we speak. Perhaps the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and ask them how they’re doing. Plan a visit with them. Write them a letter. Do something.

The church should be the safest place on earth for a broken, overwhelmed LGBT teen to process identity issues or sexual questions. When it comes to the Christian message, we are all broken and we all have a great God who desires to walk us through dark seasons.  I bet someone walked through a tough season with you, offering you the love of Christ. Reach out to a struggling LGBT teen and do the same.

I hope these three ideas help you after your prayer for Orlando comes to a close. I’m sure there are many more ways to get involved, so if you can think of more, comment below.

Remember we are not just the mouth of Christ, we are his hands and feet too. In Jesus’ name we end our prayers for Orlando, but in his name we also act.

 

 


 

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[1]  Elevated rates of suicidal behavior in gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Bagley, Christopher; Tremblay, Pierre, Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, Vol 21(3), 2000, 111-117. doi:10.1027//0227-5910.21.3.111
[2]  Study: Tolerance Can Lower Gay Kids’ Suicide Risk, Joseph Shapiro, All Things ConsideredNational Public Radio, December 29, 2008. 

 

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