I’m going to be honest, listening to the news these past few weeks has been bleak.
Somber to say the least.
This Christmas season – that should be well underway with holly and hot chocolate – started with a terrifying massacre in Waukesha, Wisconsin – where, as we know, a domestic terrorist drove his car straight into the parade, killing six and injuring 50 others.
And just this past week, we heard the tragic news of a school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, where a student brought his father’s handgun to school and killed four classmates, and injured seven others, including a teacher.
I don’t know if our hearts can take any more news of horrifying deadly violence that is seeming more and more common these days.
The news is all over the latter tragedy, in Michigan. (Wisconsin has been all but forgotten, as mainstream media declared the domestic terrorist attack as “an accident.”) But Michigan fits a narrative that is right in their sweet spot: gun control.
And I’ve listened to sources on all sides of the aisle on this one: everything from your classic – abolish the 2nd amendment, to arming teachers with guns to prevent a school shooting like this in the future.
And I’ll leave you to debate that in the comments section….I won’t touch that here.
But as I’ve been praying about these tragedies, something very crystal clear has come to the forefront of my mind.
If these three back-to-back tragedies have illuminated anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter what weapon is used, if a person has that evil in their heart to commit murder, they will find a way to do it. They’ll use their car, they’ll use their hands, they’ll use a gun. The crisis is not in the “weapon” of choice, but rather – a crisis of the heart.
And the thing that kept coming to mind, was how this is the ramification of a world that has turned its back on God.
This is what a godless world looks like. Take a look around, because we’re living in it.
And I know that is a really cynical view to take, but it is the truth.
These three tragic examples over the last few weeks — the men that committed those terrible, terrible crimes, they all used different “weapons,” but their motive came from the same source: a heart that longed to destroy.
And that’s putting it too romantically. They wanted to kill. For one reason or another. They wanted to commit the unconscionable act of murder, and in three different, gut-wrenching ways, they succeeded.
This world needs Jesus.
And to be honest, it is a really depressing thing to think about where this world is headed. You ask, “What can I do? Where do we go from here? “
But the truth is, that’s like asking how to stop a freight train with nothing but a slingshot and a pebble.
Right now is a really important time to be a Christian. I believe that. I think that the world is falling away so fast, so far, so hard, in more and more extreme ways.
There is no more right and wrong. Moral relativism is the great evil we’re faced with, that is eroding society to the core.
Read any story, and it’s example after example of a society devoid of any semblance of God, of goodness, of upstanding character, of value of human life.
Right now as Christians, it is more important than ever to pray for this nation. To pray for its return to Jesus. To pray for the change of hearts to just be curious about God. He will do the rest.
But more than that, we must live out our faith. We need to be a living example of the Gospel — it may be the only exposure to it a person ever gets. Our lives need to clearly point back to God, in a way that invites people to wonder what makes us different.
And that is a huge task. But it our most important duty in this lifetime.
We can pray before mealtimes in public. We can invite people to church with us. We can volunteer with our church’s outreach programs in areas of need. We can bring up our faith in conversation. One thing I like to do is say, “God bless you!” whenever I get out of a cab or Uber. Because I’ll tell you what – alone in a car, you do a lot of thinking, and just those three little words have the potential to spark a lot of thoughts.
Evil is alluring. It is seductive and will entice you in with the greatest of ease. Believe me – I nearly succumbed to anorexia — one of the enemy’s filthiest ways to get ahold of someone’s body, mind and soul. So yes – I know it’s allure.
But God is more. His goodness. His light. His love is more attractive than any trick the enemy can pull.
Our job is to demonstrate that.
Because we’re up against the entire world.
So my question to you, is how are you going to combat the negativity we’re experiencing this Christmas, and be God’s light in your circle of influence?
Lord, heal the hearts of all those touched by these tragedies, and move in the hearts of your people, Lord. Turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that desire to know You. And stop this fright train that is barreling straight into the arms of the enemy. We need You.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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