I hate that we continue to see the same repeat patterns of violence in our culture. Yet history has a way of attempting to repeat itself. Millions of Native Americans and Africans were murdered and enslaved with the establishment of America. Bloodshed is rooted in the DNA of this country. Rape, violence, and mistreatment of people who were marked as different were parts of the foundations of this Nation.
Freedom for all was for white men only for quite some time. Women could not vote, own property, and were more like property than partners. Native and African women were stripped from their partners and raped. Many forced to have children by slave owners who would also become property. Native and African men were tortured, murdered, men raped too (something some history books omit), and even forced to watch the rape of their wives and children. Africans and Natives were denied basic human rights.
Natives and Africans were torn from their partnerships. There were Africans here before the slave trade. Forbidden to marry, and divide and conquer was the name of the game. This too is not always told in history courses in America.
Why do I bring these things forward in light of the rise of mass shootings in America? Because if we do not examine our history and learn from it, it is bound to repeat itself. When we look at history we see a pattern of lack of value for certain lives. We see violence and murder. It did not start in America. It started with Cain and Abel.
The sins of humanity leads to destruction. It truly is not guns killing people (though I am not against laws to protect people), it is selfishness, lack of God love, and sin.
Do I love America? Yes. Do I value this country? Yes. Do I also understand her history and transgressions? Yes. I want a better future for the children coming up behind us. I do not want them to live in terror or suffer from PTSD. How frightening it is that schools, churches, and places that should be safe are no longer considered safe or sacred? We can do better.
I don’t believe video games or mental illness are causing mass shootings. There were no video games when millions of Natives were slaughtered on this soil, or thousands of African men hung from trees. There was hatred, insecurity, and sin.
There is a fundamental lack of God love prevailing in our culture and the world. Love that seeks to do not harm to its neighbor (Romans 13:10) and chooses to forgo selfishness. People who care only about themselves or their people group are dangerous.
Also where you find jealousy, you also find a murderous spirit (Saul with David, Cain with Abel, Joseph’s brothers, the Pharisees with Jesus). Some people do not murder with guns or knives, they murder with lies, slander, gossip, back biting, and nasty online posts or comments.
When there is fear and hatred, you find people may do the most ungodly things in acts of perceived threat or self preservation. It becomes “Us vs. Them” instead of “We were all created in the image of God.”
Our world is suffering from a spiritual and moral crisis that I do not believe will be completely resolved by natural means. Should we do our best to protect people? Yes. Do we also understand there is a spiritual element at work?
Evil is not only the abuse of free will, it is a manifestation of a heart that is sick and sinful. I hope we can look at the spiritual condition of society and stop blaming everything on games or mental illness. I know plenty of people who have suffered from mental illness who never grabbed a gun and shot up random people. The issue is the depravity, sin, and evil in the heart. Only God can transform a wicked heart.
Our world needs God love (unselfish, sacrificial, and pure love for all of humanity). People who do not love do not know God for God is love (1 John 4:8). If we do not stop looking at fruit and start examining roots, I am concerned we will not see transformation in our culture. It is not supposed to be, “God bless me and no one else,” or “My way is best,” or “I am only concerned about people who look like me, vote like me, or believe like me.” Love seeks what is best for EVERYONE!
God, I repent on behalf of my country for our selfishness, greed, idolatry, gluttony, lack of love, senseless murder, the rape/violence/human trafficking, for not truly honoring you or your commandments, for our sin, our lack of honor, our treachery and betrayal, our mistreatment or abuse of any people group, our lust and pride, our calling evil good, our strife/fighting, our deception, our poor conduct and immorality, our complacency and passivity, our dishonor of you and creation, and our failure to set a godly example for the world. I am sorry for our sins. Please cleanse and heal our land.
We need hearts transformed! My heart prayer for today has been, “God wreck our hearts in a good way with your unfailing love. We can only love our neighbors/others if we first receive your great love!”