This morning I saw another brief comment regarding the horrific shooting in Charleston, SC and the frustration that has been bubbling within me reached another level. Forgive me if I vent a little and push the bounds of political correctness, but I write with a heavy heart in light of this act of evil. We are not three days removed from the heinous, racist act of an individual and we are already responding in fear. Yes, I believe fear is driving the conversation following this event. I know there are some exceptions, but most of the comments and articles I have seen have focused on a few different topics. First and foremost, a vast amount of attention is given to the racist individual who murdered nine innocent lives and changed the lives of hundreds forever. Next, I have seen numerous commentaries on race relations and issues plaguing our country. Similarly, there have been conversations discussing the role of religion in this tragedy. Finally, the ever present and divisive role of politics has taken a front and center place. The gun control issue has reared its head, as has the endless debate on the semantics used to discuss the issue. In less than 24 hours after such an evil act, the political pundits from all viewpoints began to dissect the issue in order to promote their own agenda. Despite the vast differences of opinions flying through the social media world there is one common thread; fear.
I feel like we have to create all these different topics because we don’t want to acknowledge what really happened on Wednesday. On Wednesday night we were reminded once again of the devastating reality of evil. Evil is terrifying because it cannot be controlled and despite this fact, we have created a culture that believes if we try hard enough we can control anything. In the face of such evil we quickly begin to debate how we can control this in the future. Therefore we debate the cause of racism, how our government perpetrates racism, and many times our debate contributes to more racism. We also start arguing about what laws or policies we need to prevent such evil acts. I am sickened at how quickly such an evil act gets used by both sides to push anti or pro gun agendas. Do we really think any type of new law or elimination of law will prevent such overt evil?
Evil is a reality in this world. Jesus acknowledged this as he prayed for us just before he was nailed to a cross. The sad fact is that no matter what we do there will always be evil in the world. Racism has been and will always be a potent avenue for evil to manifest itself. We can and should talk about ways to reduce racism in our world, but I’m not sure having these discussions 24 hours after such a heartbreaking event is the best time. Positive headway is seldom made when emotions are so raw.
In moments like this we are reminded that we live in a world where evil is a reality. The only answer to evil is the life changing power of Christ. No amount of political discussions or action will ever defeat evil. Only the power of Christ that overcame evil through the resurrection can bring peace, hope, joy and love into this world. If we do not acknowledge that the power of Christ is the only thing that overcomes evil we will always be fearful of the evil in this world. We will continuously try and fail to prevent evil from happening, and in the process we will be pulled farther and farther from the one who can overcome; Jesus Christ. Jesus does not overcome by preventing evil but rather sustaining us through evil until the time comes for everything to be made new again.
Today, as the Body of Christ, our sole focus needs to be on these families, this church, and this community as evil has inserted itself into their lives. I believe that this very day Jesus is mourning with these families and his heart breaks to see those he loves caught up in such an evil act. In ways that we can’t explain Jesus is extending peace and hope to those involved. Through all the anger, frustration and hatred, God is offering His message of love and grace. Let us take some time to mourn together before we start dissecting the act of evil. Let us allow God to comfort so that eventually we will be drawn closer to Him rather than pushed farther away. We need to acknowledge we don’t have the answers to such evil, but we can know the one who does.