Humility…before the Lord…we all need it.
As I am writing this, there are 19 parents in Uvalde, Texas that will not see their children finish the school year…or ever see another milestone in their lives. Two brave teachers will not teach again.
Because of the senseless evil of an 18-year-old, whose life also came to an end.
Our two girls are finishing middle-school and high-school this week. I am proud of them and yet am reminded today that the walls of a school are not guaranteed safety for them. Nor is any day of life guaranteed to turn into another day of life.
While my heart aches for the parents who must now make unexpected plans to bury their children (I can’t even imagine), my heart also aches for our communities and country.
Politicians are quick to jump on the tragedy and blame the guns involved. Pundits are quick to blame mental illness and bring sympathy almost more for the perpetrator than the grieving parents. Well meaning commenters on social media agonize with the parents, but blame the evil on the upbringing and circumstances of the child’s life.
What I hear little of is really dealing with root issues. Guns don’t fire by themselves (but I’m not here to debate gun laws). Anyone who thinks the recourse of life should include gunning down helpless children is mentally ill (but I’m not here to put a clinical diagnosis on anything). Blind hatred for people groups or life in general exists (but I’m not here to talk about racism).
The root issue is three letters: SIN.
Here’s a description of the world pre flood: Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Here’s Jesus’ diagnosis of evil: Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
What happened today in Uvalde and in many other places today is not a hard one to figure out.
Galatians 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Perhaps there is value at looking to determine motive, find some circumstance to blame or justify the action, or develop some policy or law that we think will stop evil…perhaps.
However, all too often we either are unwilling or unaware of the elephant in the room: Sin is the cause of evil and evil will always find an expression until it is bound by the power of the Spirit of God.
Our society wonders why this keeps happening. It tries to wrestle with the outcome as it tries to identify a cause or in some way sooth their consciences by doing something.
There is only one thing to do: Return to the Lord.
James 4:7 So, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded people. 9 Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be changed into mourning and your joy into gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.
When we return to the Lord, we find the power and comfort of the Gospel message.
A heart will not be changed until the power of the Gospel changes hearts.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:
The power of the Gospel is the salvation of souls. Use that power personally and with your kids and family. The only comfort in a tragedy like this is to know a child has been baptized into the family of God, has learned and is trusting Jesus loves them and forgives them. As hard as it is to be a parent of a child lost in this tragedy, I pray that by the grace and mercy of God, the children whose lives ended on earth today were covered in the blood of Jesus and so enjoy their first day in heaven. The word of God and the love of Jesus is the ONE thing a child needs…every person needs.
The power of the Gospel is the power to combat sin. Just as the fruit of the sinful nature is obvious, so is the fruit of the Spirit of God. Our world is calling for this fruit, but is needing believers to bring the power of the Gospel to their friends, family and communities.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
More thoughts continue to percolate, but today I am praying earnestly that the power of God through his Gospel permeates our own hearts, that of our families, friends, classmates, teachers, officials, communities, and everyone in our land. I invite you to do the same.
Prayer: Lord, deliver us from evil. Amen.