Last Thursday in an extraordinary exchange between White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, Paski implied COVID-19 was partly responsible for the recent rise in looting incidents across the country.
“So when a huge group of criminals organizes themselves and they want to go loot a store — a CVS, a Nordstrom, a Home Depot until the shelves are clean — do you think that’s because of the pandemic?” Doocy pressed.
“I think a root cause in a lot of communities is the pandemic, yes,” Psaki responded.
The New York Post reported these incidents over the past few weeks.
In Chicago, 14 suspects looted a Louis Vuitton luxury shop on Nov. 17 and carried off $120,000 in merchandise.
On November 21st about 80 people raided a San Francisco-area Nordstrom department store and drove off in two dozen cars with over $200,000 in merchandise.
A band of about 20 thieves stormed into a Los Angeles Nordstrom on Nov. 22 and stole $5,000 worth of items.
On Nov. 24, five people maced a security guard at a different LA Nordstrom location and stole $25,000 in handbags.
Also on Nov. 24, a group of four looted an Apple store in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, and stole $20,000 worth of electronics in broad daylight.
On Nov. 26, a Black Friday group of about 10 people raided a Los Angeles Home Depot and stole hammers, sledgehammers, and crowbars.
The Post article points out that conservative politicians are blaming this recent wave of violence and property crime on the President’s policies and a permissiveness that fails to properly punish such deeds.
So, what’s the root cause of this unrest, rioting, and looting? I think it’s something else. It’s wrapped up in one word.
Think about it.
In recent years we’ve seen similar mob actions when a sports team loses the championship game and their fans feel they’ve been cheated. Ironically, we’ve also witnessed it when they win. A natural disaster like a hurricane devastates a coastal city, and looting follows. A white police officer shoots a black suspect, and people smash store windows, stealing big screen tvs.
The root cause of all of these actions is sin.
It’s the attitude and actions of people whose hearts have been filled by Satan’s deceptive lies who believe they have a right to steal because of a real or imagined slight by another person, a government agency, or society in general.
The Old Testament speaks of those during the days of the Judges when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This individualistic attitude, void of a standard of right and wrong, leads to corruption, crime, and chaos.
In the time of the prophet Hosea, people rejected a knowledge of God, fed off the sins of society, and relished their wickedness. The Bible says they “set their heart on their iniquity” (Hos. 4:1-8).
The apostle John says that Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ chosen twelve, was a thief, who embezzled money from Jesus’ treasury. He feigned concern for the poor. And allowed Satan to fill his heart to betray Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus offered this explanation for people’s wickedness. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19).
It’s easy to overlook or excuse sin by attributing causes that suit our agenda, promote a specific narrative, or justify our behavior.
Politicians, however, are not the only people susceptible to this rationalization.
Christians may quit the church, blaming the preacher, the pastors, or the unfriendliness of the members, when in reality it’s their lack of spirituality.
A husband may engage in an illicit affair, accusing his wife of not meeting his needs, when his own lusts of the flesh is the source.
A person may refuse to give to worthy charitable causes citing the need to “save for a rainy day,” or they just can’t afford it, when the truth is they’re stingy, selfish, or even hard-hearted.
A tax-payer may fail to report income to save taxes, citing government waste and policies he believes are immoral, but actually, he’s just a cheater.
A wife may not tell her husband the truth about an issue because she reasons, “it would hurt his feelings.” However, the truth is that she’s a liar.
Granted in all of these scenarios there may be contributing factors, additional issues, or extenuating circumstances, but let’s not white-wash the root cause of sinful behavior.
To stem the tide of society’s pervasive lawlessness our leaders and our people must return to believe in the ancient axiom: “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman