Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Reason Mass Shootings Occur

It has happened again.  Heartless mass shootings and the terrible aftermath in their wake.  It seems like these types of things are happening with increasing frequency.  An article in the Washington Post say that, as of December 3, 2015, “There have been more mass shootings than calendar days  this year. News reports collected by a Reddit community show there have been 355 mass shootings in 2015” (1).

Another article in the Washington Post says that the reason mass shooting will continue is simple, “Americans own more guns per-capita than people in literally any other country on earth” (2).  However, is that true?  Is the reason some people choose to kill others simply because guns exist?

More often than not, someone will say that we need stricter gun laws to curb this kind of tragic behavior. However, stricter gun laws will only insure that law-abiding citizens will be unarmed and that criminals, who are law-breakers by definition, will still be armed…and dangerous. 

Only when the evil heart of humanity is changed by the love of God will these kinds of senseless and brutal acts cease.

Jesus addressed this very issue, in one of His discourses recorded in the Gospels, when He said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19, see also Mark 7:21).  A heart in rebellion against God is an evil heart, out of which come evil thoughts and oftentimes evil actions.  Humanity’s natural inclination is to selfishness and lust; without some sort of powerful restraint, our natural human condition will foster these types of tragic behavior.

In the New Testament book of Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of this ‘heart condition’:
“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  (Romans 3:9-18; see Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3).  While this paints a bleak picture of the heart of humanity, we must remember that this is God declaring the truth about our condition.  We tend to think that we “aren’t so bad”, but God gives us an accurate account.

God has already judged the entire human race once; and what was the reason for this judgment? Genesis 6:5 tells us, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”.  Watching the evening news, one could get the idea that we aren’t all that far from being in the same condition today as those folks were in Genesis just before God’s judgment fell on them.

“Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1). The reason people act so terribly is that they are in rebellion against the Holy God who created them.  When we refuse to live as God prescribes, the only result we can hope for is a dysfunctional, self-absorbed, lustful, violent culture…much like the one in which we currently live. As long as we deny that the human heart is wicked and in need of radical change, the kind of change only Jesus Christ can provide, these mass shootings and other terrible evils, will continue.

Resources:
All Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible

(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/02/the-other-mass-shooting-that-happened-today-in-the-united-states/

(2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/02/the-simple-reason-why-the-shootings-wont-stop/