Las Vegas, Nevada – 58/500+
Sutherland Springs, Texas – 26/20
That’s how many people were killed and wounded at two terrible shootings in our country between October 1 and November 5. In 36 days.
I’ll leave the political debate to others. My concern is from another perspective. Since the vast majority of my audience is made up of Evangelical Christians, the issue for us, most of who are far removed from either Nevada or Texas, is how do we respond?
How should Christians respond to horrific events in our culture?
After the shooting in Las Vegas I suggested five Christian responses in a blog published on October 2. You can read it here.
The five responses I gave following the Las Vegas shooting were:
-Hate is Wrong
-Sinful Anger is Not an Option
-Revenge is Out of the Question
-Prayer is Always Good
-Self Inspection is Appropriate
-Forgiveness is Always Right
Those are still good points. Let me add three more.
Recognize the Awfulness of Sin
This is a bottom line issue and the bottom line is that men are sinners (Romans 3:23) and sinners do terrible things. Sure not all sinners do such extremely bad things, but we are all capable of the most horrific actions. It’s time that we faced the reality of the awfulness of sin (James 1:15). There’s nothing good about it. It’s like a cancer that eats away at your life until there is nothing left. The sin that was committed in Sutherland Springs should cause us to take swift and fierce action against any sin in our own lives.
Recognize Your Own Deadly Potential
The problem is that we downplay sin. It’s not so bad. At least my sin isn’t so bad. So we keep it and it lives in the deep recesses of our lives. And all the while it’s worse than we can even imagine. The step from lust to adultery, from anger to hatred, from hatred to murder is much smaller than we think. The deadly potential for unspeakable sin lies deep in all of us – just ask King David (2 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 51). We are not as far from Devin Kelley as we would like to think.
Rejoice in the Grace of God
But then there’s grace. Praise God for grace! It is only the grace of God that keeps any of us from committing more horrific sins than we do. It was grace that took a sworn enemy of Christianity like Paul and turned him into the greatest missionary of the church. It was grace that took a slave trader like John Newton and changed his heart so that he wrote one of the most enduring hymns of Christendom. And it’s only the grace of God that will help us cope with the terrible sins in our culture. And in that grace we can and should rejoice.
As you grapple with the awfulness of sin and your own potential for sin and the wonderful grace of God, remember to pray for the people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Stay in the Word