(Please do not read this— if you are bent towards being politically correct or are looking for reasons to be offended.)
“We cannot depend on the goodness of others to never want to do us or our loved ones harm.”
Last Sunday evening when I learned of the shooting in Texas of over 50 of our brothers and sisters shot while they gathered together to worship, 26 of them dying, I was, as I’m sure all of us were, saddened. It hit me especially hard, having three daughters of my own, when I read that the Pastor’s 14 year old daughter was killed. I soon heard that entire families were shot, pregnant women, little kids, unimaginable carnage, cold blooded, cowardly carnage.
I was horrified and shocked, but I can’t really say I was real surprised. Were you? I mean, just in the last couple weeks we had people being run down on a bike path in New York, a mass shooting killing 50 in Las Vegas and last Saturday we had a guy drive through the front door of Big Bear, a large Sporting goods store in Billings just down the road from me, to steal guns apparently just so he could shoot it out with police–the store was destroyed and so was he. Every week for the last few years it seems there is another attack somewhere with guns, knives, bombs, trucks, cars, anything people can think of—it’s like a contest to see who can kill the most people the fastest.
The world seems to be going crazy. Of course it’s no real mystery to us as we realize that the world is getting more and more divided along the lines of those who love the Lord and adhere to the moral standards set up by the word of God and those who oppose everything in it as shortsighted, bigoted and hateful.
The difference is becoming more stark as we as a people, get farther away from the commonality of a shared moral standard that we once agreed upon as a nation. Whether you really knew the God who set forth those standards or not, we kind of shared the values purported in the book. Our founding documents and guiding laws were based on the Ten Commandments, our judicial system was modeled after that of ancient Israel as were our social norms of caring for one another, defending and feeding those who could not fend for themselves.
The very declaration that established us as a free people and set us on the path that would deliver us from the Tyranny of an overbearing government who looked down on the common people, was predicated on the very premise that there is a creator—“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
The premise is that we are all equally loved and cherished by that creator and were given by him, not by any power on earth, “certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It took us many years and battles to live up to those inspired words, but they were the catalyst that kept challenging and pushing us to make it happen.
It seemed we had, or at least gotten real close. But now it is, seemingly on purpose, being undone, the fabric of our society is being ripped apart and in the last decade we have gone from arguing and accusing one another, to trying to outlaw one another, to just plain killing one another.
The enemy has for the moment lost some of his grip on the government so now he is stirring up hatred in the masses for one another and using those with a microphone to slander and lie, bearing false witness and just plain delighting in destroying people.
There is only one explanation for this madness—it is a spiritual struggle being played out in the hearts and minds of men. As the time of the day of the Lord draws nearer, as the Spirit of our God is poured out on more and more of his people, the spirit of the enemy is stirring the hearts of those he has deceived into a greater and greater frenzy to the point where rational thought is no longer possible and the voices in your head say— Kill!
I have been around for a while now and have heard it time and again over the years. When you get a glimpse into the mind of a killer—they often say “the voices in my head told me to do it.” Do not doubt that the enemy is behind this. The last couple of years have seen a marked increase in the number of church shootings, many of them barely make the news anymore. And in reality all the attacks of Islamic extremists are made against us because they perceive us as a Christian nation—they are in their minds, on a mission to destroy Christians.
We see that in the middle east. Islam—under the black banner of ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, one Islamic group or another—has been systematically torturing, enslaving and slaughtering Christians from Egypt to Syria and all points in between for years now while the world largely looks away. We just got a little taste of what they have been experiencing over and over again last weekend.
One advantage we have here? Because of the foresight of our founders who believed that all men were created equal, they ensured that we would be able to defend that premise against those who think themselves superior to us for whatever reason by giving us the right to bear arms. We can defend ourselves.
It always takes a good guy with a gun to stop one who is bent on killing. Last weekend it was a neighbor who had a rifle and the courage to use it, to put his own life in jeopardy by confronting and shooting it out with that gunmen in Texas, that finally stopped the slaughter.
We cannot depend on the goodness of others to never want to do us or our loved ones harm or to subjugate us, not so long as the enemy of our souls is alive and well. We pray and we trust the Lord for protection, and we know our souls are in his hands no matter the nature of a threat, and that is the one and only thing that will allow that Pastor to go on as he mourns the loss of his daughter, but we also have a responsibility to do our best to keep our loved ones safe from the evil that would seek to destroy the flesh.
Our faith is a gift and so is our innate desire to protect those we have been entrusted with.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22
Just as we have used vaccines as a weapon to eradicate the threat of many diseases that once threatened to destroy untold millions, and have, we also have weapons to eradicate, or at least minimize the threat of those who seek to do us harm and we would be negligent to not use the tools we have to protect our loved ones.
If your child has or is threatened by the measles and there is a medicine that can save their life you will use it, if you are any kind of a loving parent, and I know if someone was pointing a gun at your child you would wish you had a gun in your hand and you would not hesitate to use it—that’s the nature of the barbarian who lies in the heart of us all—to defend those they love, don’t let anyone talk you out of that.
I am sorry we had to go there, but unfortunately that is the reality of the world we live in, at least as I see it.
We need to morn and grieve for the lost brothers and sisters, pray for their families, that their faith will be strengthened and not destroyed as the enemy desires, and that their hearts will be healed. And pray that it never happens again, and let it remind you to pray for the persecuted church everywhere.
Iraqi Christians, the few that are left, are just as much our brothers and sister as Texas Baptists are.