Before you read any further, a disclaimer: This article has no comments on proponents of gun-control legislation or gun advocates. So, if you were looking for that, you may want to stop reading. Turn on the TV for that kind of fun.
However, if you are interested in some of the underlying issues worth considering, without the media or political hype, if you are concerned as a citizen and as an individual, you could possibly benefit by reading further.
So, what struck you viscerally on hearing of the shooting in Oregon? The senseless loss of life? The powerlessness of our state to stop this cancer of random violence? The heartbreak of the families whose loved ones were lost? Probably all of them and then some more? Or are you just numb from the descent into chaos? This specific crime appears related to guns and mental health, as some earlier shootings were.
As the President visits a grieving Roseburg, he can act on only what he strongly believes will help. The nation is divided on what will really help, but sitting idle is no answer either. How can you not sit idle and do your part to avoid a future tragedy? Can you do anything to help?
I believe only God can truly help this situation. You can be aided by God in times like these. The question is – what help do we need in these tumultuous and turbulent times? The easy answer is “no shootings.” But that is just the goal; how do you get there?
Ask yourself the question, why are there shootings like this in the first place? Is it merely access to guns? Yes, guns do execute what the person has decided to do. However, the violent decision precedes the access to the guns.
Is it in the state of the mind? Yes, the mind directs the actions – if the mind is sick, whether developmentally or with wicked intent, then it conjures up these evil schemes that guns execute.
If the mind is developmentally disabled, how do you help it? Institutionalization or medication? When the medicine is not taken or the doctors fail to detect, you are back at square one with another shooting. So, why does that developmentally challenged person gravitate to violence in the first place?
I contend that the issue here (and everywhere) is related to the state of the heart – the control center of your life. If your heart is good, you do not intend harm. If it is evil, then you have the potential to harm, whether it results in spiteful words or blazing guns.
Let’s take our mind off the specific issue in order to broaden it. Consider how the shooter called out Christians to send them to glory. What he probably did not believe to be true, was true for the killed Christians, who are now in a much better place than he.
Today, there is greater violence against Christians like the beheadings and the horrific tortures by ISIS. Yet, it is from Christians that the world must look for true and lasting help, against the very crimes they abhor. How is this possible?
As stated earlier, God alone can truly help. God alone can straighten a twisted heart and mind bent upon evil. God alone can transform a wicked heart into one that blesses others. Christians believe that Jesus alone never had any evil intent. Everyone else, whether ISIS, the Roseburg shooter, or you – have a heart that is bent downward rather than upward. How far it will go to carry out its nefarious design, varies from person to person, but everyone can find times when they know they thought wrong. And they did wrong. You know it. So do I.
Today, we crave for miracle cures to various deadly diseases. Jesus died on the cross to cure the worst disease ever known to man – sin. The cure for society and the cure for each and every contrary heart, is the surgery that Jesus offers. He promises to take out your heart of stone – your fatally infected heart and replace it with a heart beating with love for God and your fellowmen. Is that surgery successful on those who survived it? I know it has changed me. I know it can change you. I know it can change even the worst sinner who trusts in Christ’s power to rescue.
Society does not change merely with better laws or stronger medication. It changes as each person has a heart surgery. As individual people come to know their God who created them, the world is that much more a place where true love is lived out for the benefit of society. Do I hope that all become Christians and usher in Utopia?
While a promise of a new heaven and a new earth remains, that does not occur by social transformation, but with the return of Jesus Christ – when those who do not have a new heart will face the consequences of their wicked hearts. The question is not really about the Roseburg shooter or even President Obama, is it? No – it is really about us. It is about you and me.
I attempted to point you to the cure. If you are cured, point others to the divine surgeon. If you are not, get help before you can help others. You need it more desperately than you yet know. Are you tired of this cycle of suffering and pain – whether in the streets or within your home or in your hearts? Yes, the time is now to turn to God for the help we truly need. God will help.