It happened again – another mass shooting - this time at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There are no words to express the heartache felt across the nation over this hate-filled, senseless loss of nine people at a midweek service. Something’s wrong when places of worship are no longer safe havens from violence. Evil has reared its ugly head again.
Churches across North America got the jitters. But then worship returned to Emanuel AME on Sunday - just four days after the tragedy. Expressions of grief, faith, gratitude and courage filled the building. Pastor Norvel Goff said, “No evildoer, no demon from hell or on earth can close the doors of God’s church.”
Hatred and racism are rampant across our land. Churches now require security as fear grows over wondering when someone will be moved to act on their deep -rooted feelings of hate. We’ve become a culture that no longer values life and believes truth is relative; everything should be tolerated and angst is the norm. So what’s the solution?
King David asked a similar question centuries ago. “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do? But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven.” Psalm 11:3-4 (NLT)
Politicians and leaders are racking their brains to find solutions. The answer is not more laws, banning films or even removing symbols from public view. It’s an issue of the heart.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT)
The way out of this cultural quagmire begins with individuals making a conscious choice to open their hearts to Christ and live what the Bible teaches. When we start “loving the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind.’ And, ‘loving our neighbor as ourselves”(Luke 10:27), then our land will be healed.
It means being peacemakers and respecting others – even if we disagree. We must be available for those who are angry, hurt and confused. Let’s do all we can to influence others to live their lives for and like Jesus.
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