"Any man’s death diminishes, because I am involved with Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." John Donne
Even after 42 years of life and seeing how evil the world can be, I am still shaken when I hear of accounts of terrible violence. I still remember the horror that I felt in July of 2016, when Dallas Police officers were ambushed in downtown Dallas near El Centro Community College as they provided security for a "Black Lives Matter" march. I happened to be driving a friend of mine, Jack Kenyon (who has since gone to be with the Lord), back to his home in University Park as the news came over the radio that several officers had been shot; by the time the night was over, 5 of them would be dead and the nation was in shock. Yesterday morning, on August 3, a similar event took place in the West Texas border city of El Paso, about 500 miles from where we live. To put it simply, a young man walked into a Walmart with a rifle and began to fire on everything and everyone. According to the reports, he was a white man from Dallas who had left a racial manifesto as a justification of his crime. El Paso has a large Hispanic population and it is entirely plausible that this crime was indeed a racial hate crime, which several in the liberal left media as well as in the political world are trying to pin on President Donald Trump. But if that is true, how does one explain the second shooting that took place early this morning in Dayton, Ohio, which claimed the lives of at least 10 people and injured another 20?
Politicians, because of the reactionary mood of the general public (which is often fanned by the incendiary rhetoric of several liberal politicians), are going to provide "solutions" to this type of crime by enacting new gun laws, mental health laws, and a whole host of other policies to prevent this type of crime. But they will all fail. This is not the first mass shooting in Texas and unfortunately will not be the last. While the attention of the country was drawn to El Paso and Dayton, this past weekend, in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Mount Sinai Hospital (one of the city’s largest) had to shut down its emergency room because the violence in that city was so bad; 47 people were shot in homicide crimes; 4 people died. Mount Sinai Hospital could not handle the flow of victims. Chicago is a city with the some of the most rigid and restrictive gun laws in the United States; has it helped at all?
What is particularly painful is watching many politicians laugh at the idea of prayer. "We need more than just your prayers! We need action!" "Keep your f****** prayers to your selves." Politicians have been saying these words.
May God help us!
"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord watch over the city, the watchmen may watch, but in vain" (Psalms 127:1). The only wise person here is the one who understands that any other help is futile unless the fear of God comes into the hearts and minds of men. The only healing, whether mental, physical, racial, or spiritual, and the only salvation will come from no other place except the Cross of Calvary.
God is mocked in the land today. Atheism is presented as the "smart way," since science after all has done away with God! That’s the reason why many of the politicians on the liberal left laugh and mock the idea of prayer. I have only one question for them and anyone who shares in the dogmatism that rises from the idea of the "supreme goodness of man." After all the noise of "righteous indignation" dies down, do you have any solutions? Can you solve a "white nationalist" problem without becoming a racist yourself? Will you solve a gun problem by deciding that all guns are illegal and thereby go into the homes of law-abiding citizens and take them by force, and thereby violate their civil rights (more than one, if you think about it)? Will you speak about peace and love while cursing, screaming, and foaming like rabid dogs against the President and his alleged rhetoric? Will you lie and talk about immigrants and immigration in the same context as illegal breaking and entering into this country (no, they are not one and the same)? Is it possible to pursue justice by injustice? Who will speak peace and bring sanity into a situation that is totally chaotic? How can you see the image of God, the Creator, in your fellowman, or neighbor, if you deny His existence?
As the actor Morgan Freeman once said in an interview, the only way to stop racism is to stop talking about it. Or rather, as I would put, cease emphasizing the differences over and over again and focus on the humanity that all mankind shares for the simple reason that we have one Creator, one Savior.
To the people of the cites of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and also Chicago, Illinois, the people of the United States, and especially the believers and followers of Jesus Christ, our fellow brother and sisters: we want you all and the rest of the world to know that we decry the violence that took place with the mass shootings, not because of a matter of race, but because of our common humanity. The Bible refers to that point in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Further in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jesus Christ elaborated on the point of the human heart further in his Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:22-23: "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if you eye is clear, you whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, you whole body will be full of darkness. If the then the light (the prevailing influence either from God or from sin) that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"
It is only by the Spirit of God that evil is restrained in this world, not by law enforcement agencies, congresses, legislators, medical science, or mental health caregivers. I refuse to believe that guns are the problem. Why? No, I do not own guns myself. Guns are just machinery; they have no intrinsic ability to make people violent. The person who pulls the trigger has to answer for his crime. Contrary to the notion that many people, particularly in the political left, would like to put out there, America is not akin to the scenario of the Wild West where guns and gun crimes are prevalent and committed with reckless abandon. Ironically, crime statistics seem to indicate that crime rates are higher in places that have rigid gun laws in place. What’s more, assault rifles are not the weapon used in most violent crime. In fact, as seen in Chicago this last weekend (the exact period of time in which the El Paso and Dayton shootings took place), over 50 victims were shot in the gun-related violence there (most likely handguns), violence bad enough to shut down the emergency room of the largest hospital in the city. Every state in the country has gun control laws on the books; some more repressive than others. But violence is not abated; it's only increasing. As one NRA advocate said, gun control laws only take guns from good people; the bad people will not give theirs up. Knowing some fine upstanding people who own large caches of guns, I will not accept the notion that guns are intrinsically evil and thereby make people evil. Then what does?
Jesus Christ referred to the "eye is the lamp of the body… if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" A life that does not have a reverence- and a fear of God, and more so to the point, the grace of God that come from salvation in Jesus Christ, that prevailing "light" will be darkness. "Light" in this context refers to the prevailing influence or power in a person’s life. If it is not the Holy Ghost, it will be the sin nature, and that sin nature in the person will be filled by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And there is no stopping it. There is no depravity that is out of bounds or restricted. A person’s desires are completely unchecked. The Law may provide a check or balance (depending on the enforcement agencies involved) for a while, from the outside. But in the heart the darkness still rages. Then one day the boiling point is reached and an action is taken, regardless of the law or how many enforcement agencies are in the way. Does anyone doubt this? The shooters in the El Paso and Dayton shootings left 'manifestos' describing their implacable desire to have a reckoning with the world. Why? The press likes to focus on the El Paso shooting and on "white nationalism," and not so much on the Dayton crime (that killer was a leftist). Why not call it sin?
Those who would focus on the 'hate crimes' argument place themselves in a position that does not make sense. What difference is there between violence done in the name of the political right and that done from the political left? What difference is there between the genocide perpetrated and executed by the Nazis under Adolf Hitler and the atrocities committed by Communists under every Communist leader in the Soviet Union from Lenin to Gorbachev, and in every Communist nation that has ever existed in the world? What is the difference between violence committed on the basis of white nationalism and of that committed in the name of every other color: black, brown, red, etc.? The answer is, nothing. In God’s eyes, there is no subjectivity about the matter. It is sin, and it is all because of sin. So why not call it sin?
I know the reason why many, in fact most pundits, will not call it sin. It is because that would mean that one would have to acknowledge that there is spiritual problem and that it is the main issue, not just a mental health issue or a lack of education. It would mean that our ideas about God, theology, and morality will start to go from the abstract to the concrete. Our focus would turn to the Bible, starting with the Old Testament and the Law of God, coming to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments, which as the Apostle Paul says in the book of Romans, in essence revealed the holy heart of God and the futility of man in trying to keep that law – mankind could not because of its sin nature. But as God begins to reveal His message, our eyes open to the salvation that He gave/gives through His Son, Jesus Christ. "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world" (John 1:29). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever will believe upon Him will have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17). "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
My prayer is that God will open the eyes of people all throughout this nation to the salvation and hope that is in Jesus Christ. Let’s face it, we are not going to have a nation united if all we can talk about is our divisions. There is nothing else that any race shares as a commonality than our fallen sin nature and our cry and aspiration for salvation. It will only be found in the sacrifice made by the one who died on the cross of Calvary. May God comfort and heal this nation. May God silence the shrill cries of the reactionaries, many of whom are aspiring to high office; their behavior and demeanor should exclude them from having any elected position now and forever. May the Lord be with those in leadership, from the President of the United States, to the governors of the states of Texas and Ohio, and the mayors and civic leaders and law enforcement officials in the cities of El Paso and Dayton, as they struggle to comfort the people of those cities while trying to find answers and solutions.
And we pray for the El Paso shooter (the only one alive of the two shooters); may God open his eyes to see his true condition just as he did the criminal who hung on a cross next to Jesus. After all, the guy is human too!
We cry with those who cry and grieve with all who grieve.