Deuteronomy 30:7-10(NIV) 7The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, 10if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Right now, in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida mass murder, it seems as if the people in our society have completely lost all vestiges of civilized behavior. Seldom have I seen such hatred on so many fronts and on so many faces. There is outrage! And properly so, at least for the fact that so many beautiful lives were callously ended by a horribly demented young man. But the outrage that has erupted in the aftermath, with good people spewing hate towards other good people, has me nearly in despair.
Much of this outrage seems to stem from the clashing ideals and values of our nation’s leaders, and in their haste to advance their causes, so much hatred and vitriol has thrown around that it seems to me the real problems have largely been set aside or overlooked. So many hateful accusations, so many purposefully misinterpreted motives, so little focus on figuring out what is really wrong. So, what are the real problems? Is it the fault of the gun? The NRA? The right-wing conservatives? The liberal left? President Trump or the previous administration?
All of these things have been beaten back and forth like a mad game of tetherball, and with as little effect. And while so many have taken up positions on one side or another on the pole, it seems the polemics have largely obscured some pretty obvious problems.
Therefore, let us ask ourselves what has happened that has allowed these sorts of violent acts to become almost common place. Might it not start with our society in general? Has there been a shift in values, in ideals, in philosophies, that actually underlies all of what has been going on? The first thing that I notice as a pastor, is that both as a society and as individuals, God has become marginalized, and rather than being a priority, God has become just one amongst many choices in life. And with that, the foundational values and teachings that served to keep so many prior generations sane and healthy. We seem to have lost touch with the God who loves us, and with His Son, Jesus Christ, who walked with us and ultimately gave His life for our sakes, for His love of us. God knew this was a confusing chaotic world, and never intended for us to try and get through this life alone; He always intended to walk with us every step of the way, shepherding us away from the very pitfalls we have stumbled into. But now-a-days we seem to have pushed God aside, preferring our own ways. How’s that working for us.
There are so many things we can start doing differently, but how about if we turn back to God, first? If we set our hearts on God, God is available to us, and in some very powerful ways. When we start with God, so many other things will fall back into place. Then, perhaps, we may begin to gain a handle on what’s going wrong in the world.
Blessings, my sisters and brothers, Pastor Ken