The NY Daily News headline shouted "God Isn't Fixing This" in response to the horrific, calculated mass murder of 14 people yesterday in San Bernardino. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and ask the question, "What is God supposed to fix?" Why is God's name even being invoked here? We've removed God from every aspect of our society--families, government, schools, public forums--yet when these incredibly disturbing and terrifying events occur, when innocent people are slaughtered, we want to lay the blame at God's feet. Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? So again, I ask, what is God supposed to fix?
What Is God Supposed To Fix?
The recent massacre in San Bernardino brought the number of mass shootings in 2015 to 355 and prompted the NY Daily News to mock the prayers of many, "God Isn't Fixing This".
Rumbles From the Past
"A substantial part of the rapidly increasing gun sales, particularly handgun sales, must be attributed to the rising fear of violence that the United States has recently experienced. Studies by our Task Force on Firearms, as well as by the Stanford Research Institute and the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, show that gun sales in a particular area tend to increase sharply during and after a period of disorder."
This quote is from a 1969 US News & World report article titled, "90 Million Firearms... and Rising Rapidly". It continues.
"In the decade since 1958, however, nearly 30 million guns have been added to the civilian stockpile. Moreover, the sharpest increases have occurred in the last five years—a period of urban riots and sharply rising crime rates. Annual rifle and shotgun sales have doubled since 1963. Annual handgun sales have quadrupled."
The issue of increased gun purchases and ownership has been debated now in America for almost 50 years. Study after study has indicated when people feel vulnerable and threatened by real or imagined violence gun purchases increase. And, people have the right to feel frightened. Since 1960, violent crimes in the United States have increased from 288,460 to 1,197,987 in 2014 (FBI UCS Annual Crime Report). These statistics don't include murder, rape, robbery, assault, or burglary and theft.
The cause and effect is clear--an increase in crime and disorder creates a desire for protection which in turn opens the door for more weapons to flood into the market which are accessed easily by criminals and psychopaths looking to perpetrate more crime on society so citizens arm themselves to protect against the criminals, etc. etc.
Removing God From The Equation
God has nothing to do with crime, or evil, or wickedness, or mass murder. Men have chosen to deliberately remove God, and his influence, from every area of their lives. We are reaping what we have sown. Galatians 6:7, in the Bible, says, "Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. What a man sows is what he reaps." We have mocked God by making it almost criminal to be a person of faith when faith is just what we need to combat the rampant malevolence threatening to engulf us. Savannah Guthrie said it best this morning, on the Today Show, "maybe faith is what we need."
God is not to blame when a thug breaks into a family owned market and ruthlessly guns down everyone inside. God is not to blame when a young child is lured into an alley to be brutally murdered in a revenge killing. God is not to blame when over 818 people have been murdered by guns in Chicago in 2015.
The NY Daily News is right--God is not going to fix this. We chose to ignore him, to ridicule him and his standards and morals, to blatantly say he doesn't exist. Our media sneers in contempt at a young man like Tim Tebow who is committed to living a wholesome, godly life and glorifies self-indulgent celebrities who are promiscuous and spoiled. We reward the person who caters to our need for entertainment and disdain those who sacrifice for others.
So, its up to us to change the trajectory of our society. In my opinion, it is not a futile endeavor. Proverbs 29:18 says if people have no vision, no hope, they will perish. A society without a foundation of hope or faith is going to frantically reach out to protect themselves any way they can and unfortunately we, in America, stock up on handguns and rifles thinking we will ward off the rampant evil with a silver bullet. We need to regain a sense of hope and vision.
God, the belief in God, and the worship of God is a moral compass desperately needed, for people with no hope, and yet we reject the idea as inane and archaic. So, crime proliferates and hate and evil foment fear and a despairing, hopeless society is at a loss for answers to solve the problem.
Reversing The Trend
We will always have evil with us. This is a fact of human nature. What we are seeing now is an explosion of people with no conscience, no boundaries, no empathy, no understanding of consequences. As long as society feels threatened and powerless, guns and gun owners will continue to increase. Trying to take guns away from frightened people is pointless. Punishing gun manufacturers for providing guns is a worthless endeavor.
We have to address the mental health issues at the root of the rampant increase in crime. This means, as a society, we need to flex our muscle and get strong again. Get involved in our families, in our communities and in our country. We have become so self-centric we have created an environment prime for developing individuals devoid of any sense of the worth of others or themselves. We shelter in place and wait for someone else to fix the problem.
Families need to take an active interest in their children. Communication and interaction is vital. Shut off the computers, iPhones and television and become involved in their lives. Teach them important lessons of compassion for others, sharing, giving, and empathy for those who are suffering. Give them a sense of faith and hope. Spend time getting to know your children so you will know if they are having issues which need to be addressed. Get them help if they are struggling.
Communities need to develop a sense of unity and common purpose. Men and women need to be aware of the problems and work together to formulate a plan to fix the problems before they become overwhelming and destructive. It does take a village to raise a child and we shouldn't be so offended when someone cares enough about our child to correct their bad behavior or teach them the civil way to live.
Our country needs to recognize the value of mental health programs and professionals and give them the resources and support they need to combat the tide of problems that threatens to overwhelm us. In his article, "How Government Regulation is Undermining Mental Health Care", John C. Goodman states, "Nearly 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse and 42.5 million adults live with some form of mental illness, according to a Mental Health America report released last year. Yet according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, most are not getting the care they need." People afflicted with mental health illnesses find it more difficult to find providers who accept their insurance, face higher co-pays for their medication and pay higher out-of-pocket costs to receive treatment.
So, what is God supposed to fix if we aren't willing to do the work ourselves? We have to engage in our families, our communities and our country. We need to pray for strength and courage to face the real problems instead of trying to blame an inanimate object for our failures. We can change the trajectory but it will involve faith, hope and some hard work.
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