14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 As we consider giving aid or increasing our prayer support for those affected by recent events, let us also remember that the peace that we seek must begin with us.
It is always my desire to make the message from the Pastor uplifting and encouraging. As I’m sitting at my computer, reducing thoughts to writing, we as a nation are still reeling from two horrific, senseless, violent attacks that claimed a total of 29 lives (that total may increase as there are still victims in the hospital).
I mention on a weekly basis during the Pastoral Prayer that we are living in a fallen world. When we experience events of violence, even vicariously as we did with Uvalde and Buffalo, well, maybe “living in a fallen world” doesn’t adequately describe where we are. Maybe we need a stronger description.
Evil. There is evil in the world. And while on some level having evil in the world and living in a fallen world are synonymous, the two phrases have different connotations. “Living in a fallen world” has a softness to it; yes, we get unnecessarily angry in traffic, but we do live in a fallen world… We can excuse some things because of our fallen condition.
But evil is much more definite. We don’t excuse evil. But, problematically, we, as a culture, are not very good at calling evil, “evil”.
“The shooter was recruited by white supremacists”, I’ve read. Or, “The shooter was bullied and marginalized by his peers”. “Why does anyone need an assault rifle anyway?” people ask. “Can’t we do something about gun control?” others ask. Or, much more forcefully, “It’s time to quit talking and DO something”, others have been quoted as saying. “The problem is violent video games…” “The problem is the ready availability of guns…” “The problem is that people love guns more than the lives of our children…”
According to some “experts”, there have been 22 mass shootings in 2022. According to other “experts”, there have been four. The difference in the numbers comes from the definition of a mass shooting. If the people put in place to address issues in our society can’t agree on the definition of a problem, can we expect good results identifying the problem? If they can’t effectively identify the problem, they can’t possibly address the solution.
By the way, we all have opinions, some very strong, regarding the causes and solutions to violence, as well as other issues facing our country (racism, abortion, immigration, inflation, elections, and others). As certain as we are that we are correct, please keep in mind that, from the secular perspective, these problems are quite complex, and the solutions quite difficult. When discussing/debating/arguing about gun control, video game control, child control, border control, solutions to racism, etc. please remember first and foremost that we represent Christ. To my knowledge, a mind has never been changed because it was beaten down in an argument (this is especially true of the internet ‘discussions’).
As a nation, the United States of America has enjoyed the blessings of God for the entirety of its history. That isn’t to say that we are, or were a “Christian” nation; rather that our national outlook was formed and informed by an understanding of who God is, and our national foundation is modeled after biblical principles. And even though God deals with individuals rather than nations, since the coming of Christ, I believe that the long-term answers to our national problems can be found in Scripture: