We have now witnessed yet another mass shooting in our nation with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL on February 14, 2018. It wasn’t too long before that we heard the news of the 26 killed in the church in TX. It seems like more and more of these situations are occurring. In addition to these instances, several students in our area have experienced lockdowns of their schools due to threats being made. All of this has ignited a major debate as to what serves as the cause of such tragedies and what can be done to stop any more from occurring. Opinion after opinion is being offered up concerning these matters. Why is this a reality that we need to deal with today?
The Bible itself provides us with the answer. It ultimately isn’t guns, the current laws that we have or do not have, or even the family background these individuals come from (though of course the latter very well might factor in such). The issue actually goes much deeper. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. That every single one of us is born with a sinful wicked heart in rebellion to our Creator. As the prophet Jeremiah pointed out, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” We are told that when God looked down at people before the flood that He noticed “the intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). And that didn’t change with people after the flood either. The intent of man’s heart is still evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). Jesus Himself said that it wasn’t what goes into a person’s mouth that makes him or her unclean but what comes out of one’s mouth. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Included in his list of the characteristics of man’s sinful nature, Paul says, “their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:15-17). Here we find the true reason for our society’s lack of value for life (and that includes for the tiniest of life in their mother’s womb to the elderly). Man’s wicked sinful rebellious heart.
This means that the solution to these issues cannot be found in stricter laws, the president, or a certain political party controlling Congress. None of these changes the heart. To focus all of our attention on these things hoping that they will make the greatest difference would be like giving cough drops to someone suffering with tuberculosis. It doesn’t address what’s causing the cough in the first place. (This isn’t saying that we shouldn’t of course support policies and politicians who promote and protect life. Just that we shouldn’t place all of our hope in such to bring about the change we ultimately desire to see.)
The best thing that we can do in regards to society’s ills is to focus on what God has called us to do as a church. Not to attempt to seek to change society through man-made means but to proclaim the gospel that God uses to change individual hearts to turn from their rebellion towards Him and to embrace His Son as their only Lord and Savior. The gospel is the true change agent, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Coupled along with the Holy Spirit’s work through it, it can transform someone deadset on destroying the church and killing it’s members to one of the greatest missionaries in the church’s history. That’s the apostle Paul’s story. If you are a Christian, you know this to be true because you can testify to the difference that Jesus continues to make in your life. How you are no longer what you once were before you had your life-changing encounter with Him.
The only hope for our society today is the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation that He has accomplished. Our job, commissioned by Jesus Himself, is to tell others about that hope, not just in this society, but in all societies in the world, desiring to see individuals come to faith in Christ and have their lives transformed by His Holy Spirit. While we presently live in this temporal earthly kingdom, we ultimately want to see others become part of the much greater eternal heavenly kingdom. Let’s be careful not to get distracted but be steadfast with this task for the glory of our King. We know the solution. We just need to be sharing it more and praying that others will accept it.
Love in Christ,