It Could Be You

20 Aug

In recent days there have been a rash of mass shootings. As often happens, it seems, there are copy cat killers. When one murderer goes on a rampage, others follow. The Batman shooting in Colorado has been followed by several others in recent days. I think I agree with the father of one of the Colorado victims, who said to CNN that we give far too much attention to these guys who commit these crimes. Some of them in their desperation would rather be infamous than ignored, and we in our insatiable craving for news give them the platform they want.

I have to admit, though, I was intrigued by the analysis of the murderer in the Colorado shootings. It seemed for a few days that everyone in the news media was trying to psychoanalyze the guy, trying to get down under all his motives, trying to see what kind of biological and background markers were characteristic of his life. I find it interesting that most of the discussion centered around background rather than biology. Why do we look to background when someone does something we don’t think is good but look to biology when we want to justify what we or someone else is doing? Could it be yet another indication that we don’t want to face the biblical truth about ourselves: that we are sinful to the core?

Whenever someone does something terrible in our society, we always hear calls for them to get a bullet between their eyes or to hang from the highest tree. We get on our self-righteous high horse and don’t remember that we’ve all got the seeds of a mass-murderer in our sinfully corrupted souls. Given the right mix of circumstance, background, and biology, our sinful nature can manifest itself through horrific choices in my life. This is something I think a purely naturalistic worldview doesn’t address very effectively. The massive cruelty of one person to another is well explained by a biblical worldview, but I don’t see a good explanation coming from a purely biological perspective.

Some of you may be bristling at the thought that you could do something truly horrific. But really, haven’t you ever had a moment of rage that, if the circumstances would have been right, you could have lashed out in a way that would now make you ashamed? When I think about people in the Bible, I think they would have been mortified at the thoughts of some of the things they would do. Could David have imagined when he was anointed king that one day he would commit adultery with Bathsheba and have her husband murdered? We know Peter never imagined that he would deny Jesus three times. He said he wouldn’t deny Jesus yet, when the circumstances lined up, Peter sinfully turned away from Jesus and swore that he never even knew him.

Don’t be quick to assume you could never do horrible things. We do terrible things every day in the sight of God. We need to be careful not to assume that we could never do such things. This doesn’t mean that those who do such things shouldn’t face the consequences of their sin. It does mean that we should be careful not to think they are some special class of sick people who are so different than us. There is real mental illness in the world, but the principle of sin in us is the much more common reason for the horrors we see around us in every day life.  As believers, let’s not fall into step with the unbelieving world by denying the principle of sin. Let us instead with humility point to Jesus, who bears our sin on the cross and saves us and brings real change to our lives.

If anyone thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.




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