What is to be learned from the news of more mass shootings?

Last weekend two mass shootings occurred over the span of 13 hours and 1,600 miles apart. Thirty-one people are dead and dozens more were maimed and wounded. One shooter is dead and one taken into custody. 

 

The spin doctors on the right and the left are hard at work exploiting these recent losses to advance their own agendas. This close to a presidential election, we can expect that there will be a heated competition to put a label on these events. You can count on this, right now campaigns are testing labels on their focus groups to see which words elicit the most emotional reactions. Expect to hear more debate about “White Nationalist Terrorism” and “Domestic Terrorism.” What will ensue is another Black Lives vs Blue Lives vs All Lives matter.

 

Understand that by assigning these labels, politicians and pundits are trying to tell you what you should think about these events. By forming your thinking, they want to point you to who is to blame. Some labels will infer that the president is to blame, others that gun control activists are to blame, others that second amendment defenders are to blame. 

 

This political posturing is not helpful but only serves to polarize the nation even further. Polarization is not the answer to the problem. More vitriol is not the way to bring an end to these gruesome acts but only breeds more division. More division leads to more violence, not less. 

 

What is desperately needed in our country is for those who profess Christ to look at these events through the lens of Scripture. Scripture is truth, and truth, when believed, brings us together. Those who believe the truth of Scripture find peace and make peace. 

 

The recent mass shootings, when viewed from Scripture, illustrate that people are broken. We, like Cain, inherited sin from our parents, Adam and Eve. Like Cain, our inherited sin manifests itself in the form of hatred, anger, and violence. The Lord knows that the wickedness of man is great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually (c.f. Gen 6:5).

 

Romans 3 teaches us that the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every man. Paul, in this letter to believers, injects this truth by quoting from the Old Testament, “’Their throat is an open grave. Their mouth is full of bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery and the way of peace they have not known’” (Romans 2:13-17).

 

We like to think that people are generally good and incapable of doing horrible things like shooting up a Wal-Mart. This thinking does not line up with the truth of Scripture. Scripture teaches that people are bad, evil, violent, and hateful apart from Christ. We are all broken, and we all need Jesus.

 

Most would agree that murderers need Jesus, but what must be acknowledged is the truth that we are not much different than the murderers. The evil that led those shooters to kill resided in all of us at one point or another. The grace of God is the only thing that delivers us from the depravity of our flesh. 

 

What our country desperately needs is for every professed believer in Christ to cling to Him and to Him alone. Believers need to study their Bibles more than they study headlines, tweets, and social media posts. Rather than relying on politicians for peace, they should cast their anxieties upon Christ and receive the peace that surpasses all understanding, and then they should share the peace that they receive with others who don’t have it.

 

Jesus said that believers “are the salt of the earth.” If the world is headed to hell in a handbasket, then we are called to take responsibility. It is a dereliction of Christian duty to cast blame on others when we are not willing to share with the world the one answer to all hatred and violence. If we want peace on earth, a secure future for our children, and for God to bless America, then we had better be on our knees praying, and on our feet sharing the hope that comes from knowing Christ.