What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, our of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person (Mark 7:21-23).
The flags of our nation are once again at half staff as we mourn 17 more precious young lives lost. Gunned down by an evil mad man in yet another public school shooting. Just a few weeks ago it was Marshall, KY. Now Broward, FL. And before that it was Sandy Hook, and so on, all the way back to the “original” in Paducah, KY.
There really are no words to describe what those parents and students must be dealing with right now. No politician’s or even pastor’s words can really heal these wounds. We mourn. We are saddened to our core. We are so sorry. And we want all this to stop.
But nobody, it seems, knows how to stop it.
Predictably, politicians retreat to their respective corners and begin scrapping over gun rights or gun control. And, although I am personally a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I do not think it is helpful to castigate every person who thinks there ought to be some measure of controls over who gets a gun and what types of guns they can get. That’s a reasonable conversation to have and at times like this we really must be willing to at least talk about those things and consider one another’s viewpoints. While some gun control lobbyists really do want to strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights, that’s just not true of everyone who wants to see some controls put in place. Again, we all just want to see these killings stop.
While I might argue that gun control is one of the key causes of such shootings (after all, public schools are “gun free” zones that all but ensure students have no real defense or ability to be protected from evil killers), I should not resort to unkind name-calling or pigeon-holing when making my case to others who see it differently. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s to characterize followers of Christ even when we enter the political sphere!
Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky, recently expressed his deep sorrow over these shootings and pointed a finger at the home lives and culture our children are being raised in. Specifically, he went after violent video games that glorify killing people, as well as music lyrics that encourage violence. I have a genuine respect for Governor Bevin. I believe, as best I can tell, that his Christian faith is true and he seeks to live it out as he leads the government of Kentucky. And I agree with him that allowing our children and young adults (I dislike the term “teen”) to play certain games or listen to overtly filthy music is not good. What we put into our hearts, through our eyes and ears and other senses certainly can exacerbate the resident evil in our hearts as fallen sinful humans. And Bevin is right to subtly call out parents (though he did not do so explicitly). I personally wonder when parents will be charged for these crimes alongside the children that perpetrated them while living under their roofs? That might at least jolt some of our citizens to the reality of how broken our homes are in this country. Fifty years of the sexual revolution and what do we have to show for it? Divorce. Single-parent homes. Out-of-wedlock births. Kids raising themselves or being raised by so-called “professionals.” Drug addictions among all ages. And “sex ed” classes in our public schools sometimes as early as elementary school being developed by Planned Parenthood that glorify all kinds of sex among all kinds of people with no boundaries, no right or wrong!
Darwin’s theory owns our public schools. And if you think that theory only stays in the “science” classroom, think again. If we teach our children they are animals, then why are we surprised when they act like it? And when they do act like it, we have more professionals who excuse it away with psychological labels. Mental illness. If we could just get these kids who make threatening posts on Facebook into counseling or mental institutions, this would all go away. At least that’s what some propose.
And again, I respectfully disagree. Genuine mental illness plays a very small role in these shootings. That’s what makes it so hard to stop! These killers do not come with tags – “Future Murderer.” And while sometimes, as it appears in the present case of Broward, FL, the killers do make alarming statements on social media, do we really think it viable to arrest every person who makes such posts? And who then gets to decide which statements are alarming enough to get one arrested? That is a very slippery slope. Surely we freedom-loving Americans can see at least that much. Most introverts don’t murder people in cold blood. Most people who make stupid social media statements don’t either.
But I feel sure we all want this to stop. Only the most depraved among us could celebrate school shootings. So what to do? The myriad issues are insanely complex. My short analysis above hasn’t scratched the surface! Politically and practically, I would advocate for the “Israeli Model.” In Israel, all schools lock the doors and have armed guards. There are no school shootings in Israel. When we truly want to protect people, we do it with high level security measures, and our success rate is very high. So, Americans are going to have to decide whether their children are important enough to protect with high level security measures. And I suspect until schools start locking doors, arming and training guards, and scanning students who enter their doors, more and more parents will choose the homes schooling option. At least in our homes, we can shoot back.
But truthfully, political and practical solutions can always only take us so far. Because they do not address the human condition. The human heart. Not the organ pumping blood. Our minds and our wills. Only Jesus Christ can give us the true diagnosis of our condition. God in the flesh knows exactly why 19-year olds kill 15-year olds. And why moms do heroin while their toddlers play nearby. And why dads abandon their wives and kids. And why teachers believe the lie of evolution. And why politicians and far too many pastors are too cowardly to address the true heart of the matter. The heart of the matter is our fallen, sinful, hearts that hate God and His ways and love to exalt ourselves as ultimate. Jesus diagnosed our deepest problem and need with crystal clarity. We murder and lie and have sex however we want and brag about ourselves and look down upon others because we are sinners at our very cores. We are depraved at the level of our minds and wills.
And there’s only One Heart Surgeon able to literally transform us at that deepest level. His Name is Jesus. And His gospel, His good news is that He came to live the perfect life we could not. God the Father was pleased with Him. Jesus died the horrible death we deserved because of our resident evil. He rose from the dead to prove He is our Divine Savior who can give eternal life to all who trust Him alone for deliverance from the guilt of sin and for righteousness that satisfies God. Jesus saves! Jesus turns murderers into lovers of God and mankind. Just ask the Apostle Paul. And until this nation once again proclaims salvation in Jesus Christ alone from every street corner, every classroom, every pulpit and podium, there simply will be no permanent, lasting solution to our violent, hateful hearts. Why not cry out to Jesus today for salvation from the wrath of God that is certain to come upon you if you remain in your sins? Why not beg Him for healing in your heart? And why not trust Him not just to make you right with God in this life, but to one day make good on His promise to make all things right and give you everlasting life with God?
Even so Lord, come quickly! For then and only then will all our evil finally stop.