A few days following the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, I went to the post office to mail a CD and buy a book of stamps. As I placed my small, bubble wrap lined, mail envelope on the counter, the clerk asked the usual, “Does your package contain anything liquid, perishable, fragile or potentially hazardous?”
“No,” I smiled, ” it’s just a CD. Nothing dangerous in there.”
By his demeanor, I could tell the guy was in a grumpy mood, but it was his response that revealed how troubled he was about the recent tragedy.
“We’ll you never know now days. Could be instructions on how to build a bomb or take out a theater full of people on a DVD.”
“I suppose that’s possible, but I don’t know much about guns and nothing about bombs. This is just a Microsoft program for a friend’s computer,” I assured him.
He weighed the envelope, “It seems like people can take each other out with anything if their mind is set on it, guns, bombs, razor blades, it doesn’t matter.I don’t know what’s wrong with people anymore. There’s gotta’ be something that can be done about it”
He stamped the postage on the envelope so hard I hoped he didn’t break the CD inside.
“There is, ” I said as he pulled a book of stamps from underneath the counter. He stopped midway, staring at me, waiting for me to continue. “This isn’t a gun or bomb problem, this is a heart problem.”
His gaze changed from curiosity to perplexity and I went on, “The only thing that can really fix a person is a heart change and the only one who can change a person’s heart is Jesus.”
Immediately his expression went dark and the conversation shut down like an off switch had just been tripped. He shoved the stamps toward me, grabbed my money and slapped the change with a bang back on the counter, then turned around and walked away. There was no, ‘Can I get you anything else today?’ or ‘Have a nice day, Ma’am.” None of that for me!
I left there with a greater realization of how offensive Jesus is to some. He is not always the answer people want to hear. Though the existence of sin in the world requires the rule of law for maintaining justice, controlling outward behavior with more rules and regulations rarely gets to the root of our dilemma. That’s like putting a bandaid on a tumor. Jesus dealt with this problem constantly during his earthly ministry. He never danced around the perimeter of an issue but always went right to the heart of dealing with our brokenness.
Anytime our country is overrun by the wicked plans of men, media pundits and government officials want to guarantee us that it will never happen again. I don’t believe that’s possible. Jeremiah 17:9 says, ” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” A person’s actions display what is in his heart, whether good or evil. Proverbs 23:7 states, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Our nation is having one ‘heart’ attack after another and emergency intervention is desperately needed. We are under attack by people whose hearts have been overtaken by great darkness. Other tragedies, the senseless slaughter of little children in a Connecticut school and the recent bombing of innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon, give credence to that fact.
The price of man’s sin is always death (Romans 6:23) but God gave all of us a way out in the gift of His son, Jesus, and has set us into this historical time to be light in the midst of darkness. So what can we do?
~We must be certain our own heart is right before God. Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me..”
~We must know God’s word in order to stand firmly in times of despair, doubt and temptation. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
~We must pray continuously for our nation, state, leaders, churches, family, friends and not give up. Luke 18:1 “…men ought always to pray and not to faint [lose hope].” We must also pray for our enemies even though it is not easy to do. Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”
~We must overcome fear of current events with a sound mind and the power of love. 2Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
~We must be ambassadors of Christ’s love one person at a time, living the Good News of the Gospel within our world of influence. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3,”You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. It is clear that you are Christ’s letter..not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God—not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.”
Counter attack the forces of evil with a heart full of Jesus, love and truth and give our nation a heart attack that will do it some good.
Luke 24:46-47 ‘[Jesus] said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations..’