We’ve just experienced another senseless killing, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately, it’s not the first, and it won’t be the last. Some blame this shooting on race and others bemoan the ease of obtaining a gun in the United States. We’ll always have some tool available for the taking of a person’s life, so it’s not about the weapon of choice. I’m not even going to try to deal with that.
Racial issues are another story. At the root of racial issues is hatred. So it’s not simply about race. It’s about something deep within man. I would call it the evil that exists within all of us. One of the themes we keep hearing from parents of those who are committing these crimes is that he/she was a good boy/girl. They seem to refuse to believe that their child could commit such a crime.
Guess what? Every teacher or worker with children who also deals with parents has heard this same line many times over. When a child gets in trouble at school or on the bus, a parent may say, “My child just wouldn’t do that!” So, let’s face it. The Bible has it right. When the Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one,” (Romans 3:10) it’s something to which we should pay attention. When Paul writes in Romans that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) we should learn that, at the core of all of us, there is an evil that drives us to anger and hatred. The tools are multitude: cars, baseball bats, knives, razor blades, bombs, and guns—to name a few.
How do we deal with such evil? On a grand scale, we go to war. Our nation has fought in a few, and we are currently engaged in a war with ISIS and terrorism. We can bomb until we run out of bombs, but that won’t end it. On a lesser scale, we pass laws, rules, and regulations, put people in jail, or execute them. But they just keep coming.
Many will have issues with what I am about to write. So be it. But for me, the only answer that I find acceptable is to embrace the teachings of Christ. We need a moral code that works and I believe the one Jesus teaches works. When asked what the two most important commandments were he chose to sum all of the commandments up in just two. Love God and love others. Can anyone deny that if we all did that, we’d solve this problem of hatred and killing?
There’s a problem, though. I can’t do that. I can’t keep them because there is already anger and hatred in my heart. I’m flawed. Big time! I sometimes get angry when someone cuts me off. My grown children can attest to the fact that I certainly expressed anger more than once when they were growing up. How in the world did Jesus expect us to keep those two commandments? By a changed heart. What I can’t do the Spirit of God can do in me.
Not everyone who says they are Christians behave as one. But those that truly follow Jesus’ teaching and lifestyle are most likely to demonstrate that by loving God and loving others. I’m praying that many will find their hope in Jesus and follow his commands to love God and love others. It’s the only hope for hatred and violence in our world.