For sure, we are living in crazy times. Not a day passes that we do not watch another tragedy of evil unfold before us. A red scrolling banner declaring “Breaking News” at the bottom of a cable news outlet is now a regular occurrence in our homes. Our news feed is bombarded with another breaking story; A car bomb, a hostage situation, a terrorist attack in Paris, or San Bernardino or an active shooter right here at Bridgewater Plaza.
As each tragedy comes and goes the days following are dominated by the discussion of the same question, Why do these things happen? Why do people walk into a Christmas party and open fire with automatic weapons? How can the mother of a six-month old baby go on a homicidal rampage knowing she is leaving that child alone on earth? Our airwaves are filled with experts all wrestling with the problem of suffering and evil in the world.
What is the answer to this question? Eventually everyone has an answer and the answers seems to center around one of three things, the Hand, the Head or the Heart. For some the HAND is the issue. For them at the root of the problem lies a need for more laws. Particularly in our culture today there is prominent discussion about passing more restrictive gun laws. The proponents of this are adamant that if we have greater laws then suffering of these kinds will be diminished. If we can restrict, by law, the hand of an individual we can bring an end to this. Others see all of these tragedies as an issue of mental health. The logic is that “no person in their right mind shoots people on live television”. We spend considerable time looking into the background of the perpetrators of these deeds and surmise if we could have gotten them to a counselor sooner or prescribed a medication prior to their tragedy this could have all been prevented. For some all of this is a HEAD problem.
I am not an expert in either the field of gun legislation or mental health. My belief is there certainly is a place for sensible gun laws. I also have been involved in the compassionate treatment for people who genuinely suffer from mental illness. But are these the root cause of all of this madness? Is everyone who does something wicked mentally ill? Would a new law prevent another murder?
Not much is spoken in our culture about the HEART as the source of the evil and suffering in the world. Perhaps it is because this is a theological answer in a culture that is not big on including God. However, I believe at the core of the issues in this world lies a heart that is twisted against doing what is right. The heart drives a man to look then lust then leap into sin shattering his marriage. The unbridled heart full of anger causes rational people to do the unthinkable. Jesus said it like this; For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
We should know by now there are not enough laws to prevent a heart bent on destruction nor can we simply lock-up, medicate or counsel beyond those who have propensity to hurt others, for that is all of us. We have a heart problem.
When we realize this as the core issue not only do these things begin to make sense but we are also closer to finding legitimate answers to this age old question. The one who created us can re-create us into his image and make us something better, different than we were before. It is why my friend Randy can today pastor in NY state although he was once a felon and a fugitive from the law. His hand and head changed when his heart was changed by the power of Christ!
We must understand that we all need good laws, and we must serve to heal those who may be mentally broken, however, we must realize there will never be peace in the hand or the head until there is peace in the heart. And that my friend, only Jesus Christ can give.