You don’t have to be a “news junkie” to know that crime in the United States is increasing.
Violent crime is especially on the rise according to FBI statistics. And not just in our major cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Even in our rural community of Citrus County our local newspaper, The Chronicle, reports murders, rapes, and armed robberies.
Recently President Biden met with New York Mayor Eric Adams to discuss the crime problem and proposals to reduce violent crime.
Nationally syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas, addressed the issue from a perspective that we won’t hear from the political leaders of either party when he wrote: “Elections are not the only things that have consequences. So does a failure to teach right from wrong…”
Furthermore, Thomas offered these insights.
Studies have shown that absent fathers contribute to undisciplined youth…Failure to teach right from wrong and discipline children contributes to violations of moral and secular law. Schools that focus on buzzwords like “equity, equality, and diversity” while ignoring the imposition of a shared moral code (is there such a thing today?) have contributed to the chaos that has made many streets unsafe”
“People don’t automatically learn manners, they don’t acquire respect for the law, or value the lives and property of others. They must be taught and punished when they disobey, or some can be counted on to think there are no restraints for bad choices.”
All of this speaks to an issue of the heart, which is where decisions are made and deeds follow. Jesus addressed the heart of the issue when he affirmed,
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19).
In addition, when evil is not properly punished it produces more evil. This principle is stated succinctly by the Old Testament wise man. “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong” (Eccl. 8:11). This is not a partisan political talking point, but a Biblical observation.
Most of us may feel there is little we can do to make a difference or stem the rising tide of crime. While that may be true on a national level, we can do something where we live to positively impact our communities, our churches, and our homes.
#1 Believe, embrace and live the standard of Biblical authority and personal accountability.
Don’t be afraid of those who will label you as a bigot, narrow-minded, or an old-fashioned, out-of-date “Bible thumper.” Psalm 119 reminds us that counsel and judgments of God’s Word are right. They define good and evil. Provide direction. Teach responsibility. Offer correction. And equip us for righteous living (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
#2 Take a public stand on the moral issues of our day.
Not every opinion needs to be expressed and not every issue is worth debating. But matters of morality, the sanctity of human life, and the biblical definition of the family call for us to take a stand.
The late Fulton J. Sheen was right when said, “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
Preachers, pastors, and people in the pews need to be more vocal in condemnation of sin and wickedness, and in pointing people to God’s standard of righteousness.
#3 Parents must take responsibility for the moral training of their children.
We cannot rely on the public schools, our government, the media, or society, in general, to impart spiritual values to our kids. First of all, it’s not their responsibility. And secondly, these institutions are not going to imbibe their hearts and minds with Christian virtues.
From Genesis to Revelation and from the call of Abraham to the 21st century, God has always expected His will and Word to be taught by mothers and fathers to their children (Gen. 18:19; Deut 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4).
Cal Thomas is right. “Crime is first a moral issue. Failure to address it on that level ensures it will only get worse.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman