Pope Francis Urges Christians to Extend Love, Refrain from Judgement Following Orlando Shooting

( [email protected] ) Jun 23, 2016 11:56 AM EDT
Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Pope Francis joined other faith leaders in urging Christians to extend love and mercy to others, as judgement is God's responsibility alone.
Pope Francis greets faithful at Copacabana Beach. Photo Credit: Reuters

Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Pope Francis joined other faith leaders in urging Christians to extend love and mercy to others, as judgment is God's responsibility alone.

In his final sermon at morning Mass before taking a summer break, the pontiff urged believers to "look in the mirror before judging," according to Vatican Radio.

"Look in the mirror, but not to put on makeup to hide the wrinkles. No, no, no, that's not the advice! Look in the mirror to look at yourself as you are," he said. "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye and do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or, how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is still in your eye?"

The pope then went on to add, "First take the log out of your eye, and then you shall see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Those who continually judge others without looking at themselves are hypocrites and lack mercy, Francis warned, and urged people to strive to love and pray for others.

"For this, being judgmental is very ugly. Judgment belongs only to God, to Him alone!" the Pope said.

It is for us to "love," to "understand, to pray for others when we see things that are not good, but never judge. Never. And this is hypocrisy, if we judge," he added.

Earlier this week, pastors Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, Calif., and Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church came under fire after saying they were upset more people hadn't died in the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that left 49 dead on June 12. 

"These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they're the scum of the earth," Romero said in an animated sermon posted to YouTube on Thursday. "And the earth is a little bit better place now," he added.

He also said he would pray to God that He would finish the job "that that man (gunman) started," regarding all of the injured victims still recovering in hospitals.

However, the overwhelming majority of Christian leaders publicly condemned the shooting and urged believers to extend love and compassion to the LGBT community.

During one of his stops of his nationwide tour called "Decision America," evangelist Franklin Graham led thousands in prayer for the victims and their families.

"We began by standing together in prayer for the ‪#‎OrlandoShooting‬ victims, the medical teams caring for them, and those who are grieving lost loved ones after this horrific attack," Graham wrote in a Facebook post. "We prayed for our country's brokenness and we asked God to heal our nation."

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, issued a similar call on his blog: "Let's call our congregations to pray together. Let's realize that, in this case, our gay and lesbian neighbors are likely quite scared. Who wouldn't be?"

He added, "Demonstrate the sacrificial love of Jesus to them. We don't have to agree on the meaning of marriage and sexuality to love one another and to see the murderous sin of terrorism."