Posted: 11/10/17 at 10:25am. Column by Ed Jordan.
The news programming and talking heads are all abuzz, trying to place blame on who was responsible for the tragic murders in a Baptist church in Texas on Sunday. Was it the Air Force? Was it guns in general? Was it the NRA? Was it politicians? Why is it that so few are saying that the root cause was sin and evil? Why aren’t we talking about anger being a major culprit? Why do we fail to mention that the absence of morality in the public square might be a cause? Acquaintances of the perpetrator said that he was immersing himself in atheism, was combative, and had a history of violence.
What happened Sunday in that little town and little church was evil. There is no other way to describe it. What happens when a person closes God out of his or her life and lets anger and rage take over? Behind most murders are anger and rage, coupled with a devaluation of human life. Where does someone get the message that a person’s life is irrelevant? It does not come from God; it comes from the absence of God.
Most of the Christian churches I know reinforce the value that God places on every life. God loves people, and God places great value on each person’s life. When one rejects God and the values which derive from God, they choose godless values which by their very nature are destructive. In the end, every person is accountable for the decisions they make. While Satan tempts us to do evil, it is the individual who embraces and implements the temptation or who decides to reject the temptation and choose to do what is right—to do what is loving and compassionate.
Let’s look at what happened in the record of the first murder of a human by another human. In Genesis 4:6-8 (NLT) we read: “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.”
Cain and Abel were brothers. Both were told the right thing to do. Abel did what was right, and he received God’s blessings. Cain chose not to do what he knew was right and then got angry because God did not overlook his sin. So he got even angrier and killed his brother.
In 1 John 3:11–12 (NLT) God says: “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.“ Notice God tells us to love one another, because if we do, then murder will not even enter our thoughts.
We normally get angry when someone or something is preventing us from getting what we want. Angry people try to eliminate what they think is blocking what they want.
It is interesting that God warned Cain that his anger was his own doing, and that if he didn’t defuse it, it would be his undoing. Cain knew what was right, but he didn’t want to do what was right. Who killed Abel? Cain did. Could it have been avoided? Yes, if Cain had chosen to get rid of his anger.
The New York rental truck killer, the Las Vegas shooter, and the Baptist church killer had certain things in common. God was not a positive part of their lives, they were filled with hatred and wanted to release their anger by killing others, and they had little regard for the lives of others. People choose to kill other people because they choose evil values and alternatives instead of choosing God’s life of love and peace. But in the end, each of those men was responsible for what he did. No one made them do it. They chose to do it.
Pray for those who will carry wounds of grief with them for years to come. Pray that those affected by this evil will resist such evil and not allow the evil done to them to bend them towards evil.