I’m looking at another shooting headline this week…this time in the capital at a baseball practice, where several members of congress would have been killed were it not for the dedicated work of capital police. The shooting was politically motivated and the individual responsible was obviously a sick man. I heard about it first as a congresswoman spoke on the radio. She had been at the practice with her daughter and she said she was scared as hell.
Many people today bathe their minds with images of graphic horror and violence in theaters and in the privacy of their own homes. Violent role-play is now an acceptable form of entertainment, but most people are not entertained or amused by actual terrorism or gun violence, especially when they are the victims. Instead, they express shock and surprise, which is really just the denial of our own readiness to do evil given the right conditions.
The root of all violence is fear, anger, and resentment. In response, Jesus want...
After David’s infamous night with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, there was only silence from his friends and counselors (2 Samuel 11). For months, no one would tell David the simple truth. No one had had the courage to confront him - that is until Nathan the prophet brings this message: “Why? Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?” Then David, in one of the great understatements in Scripture, says, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Coming to terms with one’s sin requires the slow work of the Holy Spirit, but more often than not, it also requires one willing to speak the truth to us by that same Spirit. Writing in the 1930’s, Reinhold Niebuhr perceived the incapability of individuals and nations to rid themselves completely of evil, but he did credit the religious spirit with a capacity for restraint and humility. I found this quote in my copy of Niebuhr’sMoral Man & Immoral Society: