Friday, December 21, 2012

And the World Asks “Why?” - Part 3

Stormy Land -- Saija
“Stormy Land”.  It’s a powerful image taken by Saija Lehtonen.  And reminds me of the stormy atmosphere of today’s world, making our surroundings less inviting than they should be.  There are several reasons for that.

Last time we mentioned that it was mentioned on the news that there have been 37 incidents like Sandy Hook, Aurora and the DC Sniper since 1974.  Another newscaster said it was 75 incidents since the mid ‘90s.  And yet a third said there were 20 incidents a year.  None of these bothered to cite their sources, so it’s impossible to determine which (if any of these) is accurate.  But it’s pretty safe to go back through our history and note that the more we removed standards, the more a lot of wrong things occurred in society.

We mentioned, last time, that the Judeo-Christian outlook pervaded society with standards.  That included a whole spectrum of things.  Accountability for one’s behavior from childhood into adulthood was one of them.  Spanking was considered chastisement, not abuse.  And that was tempered by “love thy neighbor”, including your children.  The chastisement, in a sense, was partly an indication of that love.  One cared enough to use harsher measures to try to keep the child from going in the wrong direction.

One of the interesting side issues with our societal change is that blame gets shifted to the tool instead of the person using it.  Spanking is bad, abusive, denigrating, instead of some people who spank are abusive and need to be dealt with.  Guns are bad because they kill people, not that bad people sometimes use guns to kill people.  Interestingly, we like kitchen knives, but don’t want to ban them.  More people are killed by cars, but no one is clamoring to eliminate cars.

That same kind of thinking acts as if everyone can be fixed by some combination of  psychotherapy and medication.  There’s little or no attention paid to the spiritual component of our nature.  And the world’s mindset is to fix people, not correct them.  But we each have our own idea of what needs to be fixed and how.  Have you ever noticed how many theories there are about our psychological makeup?  And, when there are areas of disagreement, can they all be right?  That doesn’t make sense, does it?

That’s where eliminating God from the picture is the worst mistake possible.  Dr. Phil McGraw, who I consider one of the more logical psychologists, has pointed out that there are some common traits to shooters such as the one who attacked Gabby Gifford and those around her and the one who went into the Sandy Hook school.  They are loners, separated mentally and psychologically from those around them, and feel  lonely.  All of that generates an intense anger that allows them to believe they are right in acting out that anger with drastic violence.

If psychology and/or medication really was the entire solution, the patients would stay on their meds instead of deciding they had become well enough to stop using them without consulting a doctor first.  And there’d be no need for institutions to separate some from society.  Consider Mark 12:29-31, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”.

The type of person who is likely to become a shooter hasn’t experienced the kind of love that you and I take for granted.  It may be because it was never given to him, but is definitely because he hasn’t been shown how to receive love.  When we eliminate godly influence, we prevent experiencing 1John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”.  If we feel loved, we can’t feel lonely and separated.  Knowing we’re loved quells those feelings of anger.  Corrie TenBoom said something that applies, here, "It is not on our forgiveness any more than our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but His. When he tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.".

If there are still feelings of separation and anger, a relationship with God includes the gift of the kind of love that can heal our earthly relationships.  True, God has been misrepresented as some vindictive twerp who can’t handle our bad behavior and is ready to squash us like a bug.  If you really believe that, consider the kind of patience and love that would go to the extremes Jesus did so that we might have salvation.  Read about it and study it for yourself.  You’ll see what I mean.  God has also been misrepresented by tying Him to our own thoughts of greed for comfort, wealth, and health, ignoring that He prepares us for eternally experiencing that, but sometimes using harsh situations to prepare us.  A Corrie TenBoom or a Richard Wurmbrand didn’t experience a martyr’s life because of a lack of spirituality on their part.

It may help to have added restrictions on assault weapons.  But the reality is that, if we don’t change the person who owns the finger on the trigger, it doesn’t matter what the weapon is.  Gang members, violent men, and terrorists don’t seem to have problems with weapons restrictions.  The homicidal individual will just change weapons or ingredients, as needed, to succeed.  We need standards, accountability and love for our fellow man.  And those come from God.

1 John 4:20-21 (KJV)  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

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