Yesterday morning after writing and publishing my post, I went outside to get the newspaper–The Dallas Morning News. There it was in bold black letters on the front page. AMBUSH.
Numerous articles described the horrific and chaotic scene Thursday night when a sniper began shooting police officers during a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas.
Turning on the local TV station filled in the up to date details of the heart breaking tragedy that ensued. The attack on the Dallas police is ironic. By all accounts the DPD has been a model to other cities in terms of community relations. Reforms in the past six years of excessive force complaints have dropped from 147 to 13. The murder rate in Dallas is the lowest since 1930.
The protest of Police brutality stemming from incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota was by all accounts peaceful. Dallas police had actually shaken hands and posed for pictures with the demonstrators. The editorial of the Morning news praised the police who protected the protesters and wrote, “throughout the evening, mutual respect was visible between the two groups.” And when the shooting started it was the police who ran into the line of fire and tried to get the protestors out of danger.
Why? This is the question on everyone’s mind. Why did a 25-year-old former Army reservist, with no previous criminal record, go on this rampage that killed five officers and wounded seven more?
Simple answers are difficult in the wake of this senseless shooting. But here are a few thoughts for your consideration.
Evil exists. Too often we look to some complex psychological analysis for such a rampage. Partisan politicians quickly begin pointing fingers. We need stricter laws. Gun control. Sensitivity training for police officers. Would these help? Maybe.
But the real root of the problem is that we live in perilous times when the hearts of men are set on doing evil. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19) He called the devil “the evil one” (John 17:15). And the Bible teaches that the devil can enter our hearts to commit evil acts (John 15:2).
Murder, of course, is preceded by evil thoughts. Bitterness. Anger. Wrath. Hatred. Prejudice. Envy. Jealousy. And self-seeking vengeance. These sins when fomented within the heart produce horrific results.
As I reflect over the past 50+ years of my adult life, America has changed. There is a coarsening of culture. Society tolerates and even celebrates behavior that once was deemed sinful by good people. Respect for authority has declined. Relativism reigns. Secularism is the new religion. Individualism is flaunted. The rule of law is ignored. Police officers in general are often portrayed as villains. And a grievance sector of our society is bent on stirring up trouble between races and groups of people.
Do you suppose any of these factors, or a combination of them have contributed to the alarming rise of these kinds of atrocities like the Dallas police murders?
So, what can Christians do? Where are we to turn? How are we to act?
- In the midst of a corrupt culture, we must continue to shine as lights for the Lord. (Matt 5:14-16)
- Let us love, instead of hate. Really put into practice the two great commandments. (Matt 22:37-40)
- Role model the golden rule (Matt 7:12). Treat others with kindness, courtesy, and respect.
- Obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-4).
- Refuse to seek vengeance on others (Rom. 12:17-21).
- Refrain from engaging in incendiary rhetoric that only fans the flames of animosity. (Col. 4:6; Eph 4:29-32)
- Reach out to those who are hurting. Weep with those who weep. (Lk 10:33; Rom. 13:13)
- Put away prejudice, bigotry, and unholy judgments against others. (Matt 7:1-5; Jas 2:8-12)
- Rely on the Lord for strength. We live in difficult days. And I fear they will become more challenging. Evil men will proceed from bad to worse. Seek refuge in the Lord. His Word. And His guidance. (Ps. 46:1; Prov 3:5)
- Pray. For our country. For our rulers. For the lost. For the hurting. For God’s church. For the victims. And for the families of law enforcement officers. (1 Tim 2:1-3; Jas 5:13)
May God bless you as you seek His favor, do His will, and exemplify the spirit of Christ. Even in spite of the tumultuous times in which we live.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman