“It's An Older Problem Than We Might Think...”Categories: Christian Attitudes, Current Events, Tuesday Email Devo
True story: Sometime around 1920, two of my grandfather's cousins got into a fight with another man after church on a Sunday morning. The fight quickly got so out of hand that the two Lankford brothers ended up shooting and killing the other man and their own uncle. They each spent 20 years in prison.
This past Saturday, I asked my grandpa about that story. As he retold it and filled in several of the details that I hadn't known before, he got into a melancholy kind of mood and started telling about other occasions of violence that he had known of in the surrounding rural counties from the 1880's into the 1940's. The most striking one was about a man who got on a horse, rode through town, and killed 12 people before taking his own life. And it made for a very sober connection when I got the news on Sunday of the two shootings in Texas and Ohio.
The stories Grandpa told don't lessen the sadness that I feel about what happened in this past weekend's events, but they do help to put it in context. He reminded me that acts of violence—even acts of mass violence perpetrated against innocent people—are not a new problem. In fact, in the history of the Israelites, there is a story of an act of mass murder perpetrated by two brothers (Genesis 34). The problem precedes any kind of weapon or type of communication forum which will be talked about in the news this week. Because the problem is as old as... well, sin.
What does that mean for how we respond to these situations? It means that we must continue to maintain this one belief: that the only comprehensive solution to these problems is salvation and redemption for all people, in Jesus Christ. And so we continue to teach that all people are made in the image of God. And because of that, all life is sacred. God loves every person and wants to see every person reach repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Murder destroys God's most precious creatures, and so more than anyone else, Christians want to see an end to sin, to violence, and to death itself.
- Dan Lankford, minister