It’s been a tragic week in our country. Again.
Just a few years ago, there weren’t frequent mass shootings. I remember when the Columbine tragedy happened, and before that school shootings were almost unheard of. In the last year, how many have there been? I can’t even remember.
So what’s going on?
Whether the “reason” behind a shooting is making a political statement, demonstrating hatred of a certain group of people, or whatever the motivation, at the core is a disregard for life. Even when the loss of a life is the death penalty used as punishment for a crime, it’s a very sobering event.
Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23
And that’s if the person in question is “wicked.” With the synagogue shooting this week, the victims were innocent. As Christians, even if we believe differently from people practicing the Jewish faith, like the victims of the most recent incident, that’s no reason to be unkind to them in any way. God never gives us permission to be cruel to anyone else.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. – Ephesians 5:1-2
God calls Christians to be like Him. We’re supposed to live our lives with love. And Paul says that love is supposed to be like Christ loved us. He’s the best example of all. He died for people who He knew would let Him down.
If we live in that kind of love, we’ll be willing to suffer if necessary to help other people find God. If that’s our attitude, we won’t be making rude comments to or about others, cutting them off in line at the grocery store, and we absolutely won’t do anything to harm them.
If everyone had that kind of love, it would stop hate speech. It would stop hate crimes. And it would stop mass shootings.
There was racism and tension in Israel in the first century too. There was a group of people called Samaritans, who were people of blended nationality. Years before, Hebrews and another group of people intermarried. This is something that was looked down on. Both groups of people avoided and disdained the other.
This is the context for the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man was traveling in Israel, and a group of bandits attacked him on the road. A priest and a Levite came by, both of whom were supposed to be very religious. They walked right on by. But the Samaritan, the one the listeners would have looked down on, is the one who stopped to help.
We need to get our lights shining and share the gospel. Not just to make this world a better place to live in, but because Heaven is a real place, and no one should miss it because we could have done more.
A lot of people don’t understand the kind of love God wants us to have. The kind of love that can solve so many of the world’s problems. But we do. Let’s show them what it’s all about.