I just did a quick tally, and I can tell you I’ve spent more days of my life in the State of Nevada than everyplace else combined. The number of days I’ve spent in Nevada outbalances the number of days I’ve been a parent, the number of days I’ve been a university graduate, even the number of days I’ve been a husband. In my wallet, I have a valid and current Nevada driver’s license. I am a registered Nevada voter. I own a home in Nevada. My point is this: don’t let the fact that recent years have seen me residing in California and Ireland fool you.
I’m a Nevadan.
As I sit and write this post, it’s been mere hours since the news started coming through of a mass shooting in my home state. This horrible act in Las Vegas has awakened the world with sorrow, rage, anger, fear, and sadness – and I’m fairly certain I’ve personally had all those and more since I heard the news. The questions. How? How does something like this happen? Who? Who could do such a thing? Why?
We may never know the specific answers. We may never come to the right solutions either. Anyone reading this who would push for what has become known as gun control, well, I get it. I don’t think it’s the solution, but that’s another post for another day. The drive to prevent, to control, and to fix are only too understandable while the waves of shock and grief batter us. We want to turn our bewilderment into proactive, positive, action. Unfortunately, the problem goes back a lot further than we tend to think.
You only have to go 88 verses into the Bible before the first murder takes place. We read in Genesis 4:8 that, in a jealous rage, “Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” You could say that Abel was a victim of a weapon more powerful than a handgun. More powerful than a rifle. More powerful than a North Korean missile. Abel was a victim of sin, and we certainly don’t have to look far to see evidence that this weapon is still active today. It is in the DNA of every one of us, but don’t take my word for it:
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 [NIV]
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
Romans 1:29 [NIV]
You desire but do not have, so you kill.
James 4:2 [NIV]
Jesus even said (see Matthew 5) that unrighteous wrath against someone is the same as murder! Suddenly, the mark of Cain doesn’t feel so far away.
But in Christ, this weapon of sin is defused, nullified. No longer would this charge be leveled against us: ” You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning” [John 8:44, NASB]. Instead, we are “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” [Romans 6:11, NASB]. We are freed up to “mourn with those who mourn” [Romans 12:15, NASB]. We can “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” [2 Corinthians 1:4, NASB]. May we share this message of hope:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let us pray and reach out.