In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. – Judges 17:6
We woke up this past Sunday morning to the second mass shooting in as many days. Understandably, people are asking why this is happening and what can be done about it. Sadly, I don’t believe our culture really wants the answers to those questions because the answers don’t allow us to point fingers at one group or another, leaving ourselves innocent. The real answers indict our society and the solution would require us to change who we are at a fundamental level.
The Bible tells us that wickedness flows out of the heart, that we think wicked thoughts and have wicked desires before we commit wicked acts:
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Matthew 15:19
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. – James 4:1-2
The root cause of this kind of violence is the core belief system of our culture. What’s flowing out of the “mind” and “heart” of our society is poison and that poison is overflowing into the streets as violence.
- We’ve taught multiple generations that murder is an acceptable way to deal with an inconvenient child. (Exodus 20:13, Psalm 139:13)
- We divide people into ever smaller identity groups, stoking animosity between them and teaching them all problems flow from a victim / victimizer dynamic. (Acts 17:26, Galatians 3:28)
- We teach people there is no objective truth, that their feelings and emotions are paramount, they should be free to act on them, and anyone who tries to prevent them doing so “hates” them. (Psalm 119:43, John 17:17)
- We teach that any offense is “violence,” no matter how small, whether real or imagined (because imagined is real in the twisted world we’ve created). Taking offense has become our national pastime. (Proverbs 10:12, 19:11)
Then we as a culture have the nerve to ask, “how could this happen?” when someone shoots up a store or a nightclub.
The common denominator in all this is the elevation of self above all else. We’re like the Israelites in the days of the Judges, everyone doing what is right in his or her own eyes with no thought for any standard above and apart from ourselves. We want to live hedonistic lives in peace and safety. But, like a person who wants to eat chocolate cake for every meal while remaining fit and healthy, that’s impossible. The solution is to change our diet, not spend more time on the treadmill.
We must return to a place where truth is found outside ourselves, where reality is acknowledged and submitted to rather than resisted. A place where what’s celebrated is the true, the good and the beautiful rather than the false, the wicked and the ugly. That’s not to say there’s ever been a time when wickedness did not exist but we’re in an era when it not only exists but is lauded, where good is called evil and evil, good.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, talking about the horror his nation experienced at the hands of communism said:
“But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
When a culture or a nation abandons God, violence always follows. This is as old as creation. After our first parents rejected God in the Garden, the world devolved into a place where the thoughts of man’s heart were “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) and these evil thoughts resulted in a culture so wicked and depraved that God, in his righteous judgment, wiped out every man, woman and child except Noah and his family.
The solution to mass shootings, or any other wickedness in a nation, is for that nation to return to God. For the church to fulfill her God-ordained role of evangelizing the lost and for the civil government to fulfill its God-ordained role of punishing wickedness and rewarding good (rather than vice versa). In short, we need revival, something only God can give.
America needs a King, not in Washington, D.C., but in the hearts of her people and that King is Jesus Christ. Pray fervently for our nation that she would return to the Lord before it’s too late.