Highland News Leader

Don’t be afraid to go to church

We cannot ignore the shooting that happened at the church in Texas. It was tragic. There is no other way to say it. But, please, don’t stay away from church because of the shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church. I say that for two reasons:

▪ First, recent history tells us that you are no less likely to be a victim of violence if you are in church than if you were in a movie theater, a school, a softball field, a shopping mall — or just walking down the street. We are living in a sin sick world dominated by violence and a lack of respect for human life. Violence has not always been this random, but it has always been part of life on this earth. I suppose it wouldn’t take too much digging to find mass murders and senseless crime throughout the history of “the civilized world.”

▪ Secondly don’t stay away from church because of the Texas shooting because if faith means anything, it should give us hope in the face of death. Reportedly, one of the wounded ladies said to the lady lying next to her on the floor of that church, “We’re going to heaven.” As callous and insensitive as it might sound, let me bluntly say, if faith means anything, what better time to die than in church worshiping the God you love? As the Apostle Paul said in II Corinthians 5:8, we who know Jesus Christ have a confidence that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Before he said that, Paul also said, “We are of good courage…” Paul told the Thessalonian church that believers should not grieve “as those who have no hope.”

If my faith is in Jesus Christ, my hope is not in safety or security measures. Yes, we want our churches to be safe. Yes, churches all across our country are taking steps to try to make their worship services a place of peace and security. But since we cannot insulate ourselves from all acts of violence, we should then turn to the one God who can give us hope and confidence for an afterlife if we should come face to face with death.

So, don’t stay away from church because of a shooting in Texas. There are hundreds of thousands of places of worship in the United States where there was no violence — but you could hear a message of hope and salvation.

Pastor Larry Wise

Highland Community Church