America is plagued by senseless acts of violence in shopping malls, movie theaters, schools, and other places where people gather. Politicians are quick to use these tragedies as a means to advance their particular ideology. One side says take away the guns; the other side claims a well armed citizenry is the best deterrent to the madness. Meanwhile Americans cry out, “When is it all going to stop?” The answer may be that it never will. And my heart breaks for grief-stricken families when I think about the obvious reason why.
First, to correctly identify the root cause of the violence
It’s not too many guns; it’s not too few guns; it’s not mental illness. It’s evil.
American culture has so fictionalized evil that people really have no understanding of what it truly is? Take Halloween for example: Kids these days would just as soon dress up as the villain in their favorite movie as they would the hero. (In full disclosure I did masquerade as Darth Vader three years in a row as a kid.) And what is with America’s obsession with zombies, and this infatuation with vampires! (And bacon too. But that’s a different blog post altogether).
So when people are asked to define evil they typically struggle to do so. The go-to definition is to play the Hitler card, but that’s a cop-out. Hitler was an embodiment of evil, but he wasn’t evil itself. What is the source of true evil? Maybe we should be looking to God for the answer.
What history teaches us
Many people say they believe in God. But it’s easy to hope and believe in something good, especially in a world so full of bad, and seemingly little hope of it ever be overcome. So people rename this abstract concept of “good” as “god,” and slap a face on it — maybe even pray to it. But that’s not God.
I think about the Biblical history of ancient Israel. In a nutshell, they were in and out of conflict and bondage, depending on their relationship with God. No, God never bailed; they did. Israel became reacquainted with God time and time again because He allowed them to become reacquainted with their enemies. So also has America bailed on God.
A healthy belief in the devil
The Rolling Stones sang, “Please allow me to introduce myself…” Could it be that America doesn’t need to believe in God as much as it needs to believe in the devil?
Having a healthy belief in the devil clarifies mankind’s distorted view of, and lacking devotion to, God. God used to be America’s first love (Rev 2:4-5). But maybe the best way to rekindle that romance is for God to let us flirt with the devil. The glorious news is that God is waiting with open arms for humanity to run back to Him. When that happens, He wipes away the tears, and the desperate cries are quieted!