“The breakdown of the family.”
“The lack of access to mental health help.”
“Violent video games.”
“Taking God out of the public arena.”
These are all reasons I have heard this weekend for the events of last Friday.
I am still numb and really have no words today. This is not going to be long or eloquent. To be honest, I am tired of all the discussion about this tragedy and don’t want to add to the noise. I tend to want to just be alone with my thoughts and get overwhelmed reading and hearing continuing analysis.
I do tend to think about my own life when these things happen, and how I can deal with me, since I am only accountable for myself before God.
I reject the afore mentioned reasons for these killings. These seem to be symptoms of a greater problem–one so common that you may dismiss it as simplistic.
It is sin. Sin is the ultimate psychosis, our greatest threat. This young man may or may not have been mentally ill, but he was good at planning in advance for sin. The FBI said that this was a well calculated plot, not someone snapping one morning.
What would make a person want to take this kind of revenge? Simply, sin.
And when you realize that sin in its unrestrained form was the cause of this, I have to tell you, it should drive you to the foot of the cross. We are helpless to address our own sin without the help of Jesus Christ.
When you realize that Jesus told the self-righteous Pharisees, (who were confident that they had never broken God’s laws!–Smug, proud men that they were!) that to hate–TO HATE– is the same as murder in God’s eyes, we, should stop dead in our tracks and take a look at the sins we toy with.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:15,16
Who are you mistreating? It is easy to be kind to those who are kind back to us, but your love for God–>GOD<–is seen by how you treat your enemies and those who are reviling and mistreating you. If you are born again, you have been given God’s nature and the characteristics of His nature, the fruit of the Spirit. It treats others a certain way, and it is not like the Hatfields and MacKoys. God’s people don’t feud. They don’t repay evil for evil, no matter how justified it feels.
Who are you punishing? God clearly tells us that vengeance belongs to Him. And when we suffer, God gave us an example of humble suffering, which does not EVER include vengeance. Are you engaging in mini-vengeance? Silent-treatment “murder”–acting as though the person who offended YOU (how dare they!) now is dead to you. Who are you giving the evil eye? You know the look–stone faced and angry–>”if looks could kill.” You are in violation of God’s word. Your love for Him is lacking. You cannot be vengeful and holy.
Who are you angry with? If left unchecked, do you believe that even you could do something so despicable? Anger never walks alone. It is always accompanied with wrath, maliciousness, bitterness, etc…You can’t be angry with your brother and be pleasing God.
Who are you bitter towards? Who do you constantly think negatively about? Who do you assume the worst about? (aka- lack love for! Love assumes the best and believes all things, hopes all things!) Who do you make negative comments about and slander at every chance you get? Let me tell you, this should make you shudder. If you are harboring bitterness towards a believer, you are living in sin. Yes, YOU. Whatever hurt you’ve incurred, you have given it a life of its own by reviving it 24/7 by your own bitterness. Ask God to rid you of this sin that he clearly denounces and tells us, as followers, we must PUT OFF.
It is easy to look at the obvious sin of others. It is harder and requires grace to look at the sin in our own life. When we desire toying with a sin MORE than we desire following God in obedience to His word, our lives will totally be out of whack. Stability and PEACE come when we desire God and desire to please Him more than anything else. And when people wrong us, our desire for God’s word and following after Him is what will help us, by His grace, to do what is right and cling to Christ. So, if your husband is harsh or your sister in law is a jerk to you, guess what? You still have the power to do what is right, because God enables you **when you desire Him above** being treated kindly, or not being misunderstood.
Sin always distorts and destroys. Sin RUINS life and relationships and whispers, You are number one. Everyone else needs to do what YOU say or want. Sin controls and dominates. Sin is scary and even scarier is the Christian who thinks that their sin is no big deal. Sin makes you disregard God’s Word and His will! Satan has you right where he wants you–underestimating him and enslaved, thinking everything is okay.
My only encouragement to you today, the same thing I have been doing all weekend, is to look inward and read God’s word. Repent if you’ve been messing with sin. Ask God to help you see your sin as He sees it. Ask Him to help you despise it and love Him. And cling to the foot of the cross. Really, it is the only place that you’ll see yourself as you really are. In need of daily grace and help. Desire God and obedience to His ways more than anything else.
Blessings to you all this Christmas, and I am praying for you (will you pray for me?) as we walk toward loving ourselves less and God more.