By now you probably have heard of the Las Vegas shootings that killed 50 plus people and wounded hundreds more. Here we go again with another action that has devastated lives and families. Enough is enough. Why is it that we fail to love one another? What makes us hate each other so much that we will randomly kill people we do not even know?
As I entered into my morning time of prayer, I asked God what we are to do as Christians to change the current culture. I open up Scripture and read about the times that Jesus showed righteous anger. Maybe it is time we turn the tables and throw up our hands and get angry! Enough is enough.
Silently meditating, I began to relax and realize maybe that was not the answer. The anger of Christ came not in response to petty differences or at the weakness of others but rather at the deep imbedded sinful nature of humanity that questioned and countered the power and love of God. In this instance as with others when we slaughter each other righteous anger may indeed have a place but as I further studied Scripture this morning I opened myself up to a broader listening of the work of Christ.
It may be righteous to be angry over issues like we face today in Las Vegas but the typical response that we have as human beings is not the answer. Our nature tells us to bunker down, be distrustful of those who are other than us and seek revenge. Christ’s answer was so counter to that type of response that it is difficult to imagine. His response to hatred was love. His response to violence was peace. When soldiers came to arrest him and the disciples drew arms to protect him, he told them to put the swords away. When he hung on the cross and bled he forgave those who hurt him. He forgave us of our sins not because we made amends for our actions, but simply because of his great love. He said enough is enough but that referred not only to those actions we initiate in our selfish, sinful nature, but to our responses as well.
So, this morning, as I offered myself in prayer, I found myself grieving for the families who lost loved ones and praying for the person so caught up in sin and hatred or lost in mental illness that he would kill so many. Wow, I wish we would live in love! Enough is enough!
Matthew 5 (The Message)
17-18 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.
19-20 “Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.
38-42 “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
21-22 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
May you live in love and peace this day!