Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Shooting on Mother's Day

I was shocked and horrified by the recent news of the shooting at a 2nd line Mother's Day parade in the 7th ward of New Orleans. How could ANYONE desecrate Mother's Day in such a way. This day we set aside to honor the mothers who gave us life, was tragically marred by those attempting to take away life! I was boiling with anger when I heard about this news, but then the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "What do you expect?"

"WHAT?? Lord surely you don't mean that!!" I replied! God's sweet Spirit then soothed my heart and calmed my spirit to see and understand what God was saying to me. The one constant I see in all the terrible things that happen in this world is that they are connected by sin... it is sin that brings evil... or maybe it is evil that brings sin...but that is a debate for another post! My point is that sin will always lead us down a pathway of destruction and for the most part it will never make sense as to why people choose this path instead of the path that God wants for us all.

As a pastor, I know Scripture and I know that the Bible tells us that, "...all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God..." (Rom 3:23) Sin is prevalent in this world, but these shootings (on Mother's Day no less) seemed over the top... this seemed to be more heinous... more evil... more destructive. But God reminded me that sin leads to evil actions... and ALL evil... all SIN is bad and against Him! Now while I know we will never hold someone who is a habitual liar on par with someone who takes a weapon and intends to inflict harm or death upon others, but in God's economy, both are equally heinous.

What does this mean for US? What can we learn? What this means is, as believers, we must take ALL sin as serious! We must abhor any and all action that is NOT Christ exalting! Paul wrote to Titus in Titus 2:7b-8a and told him, "...let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth..." Paul is calling for Titus to exhibit holy and godly living in his actions! This principle, although in this passage was pointed toward a church leader, really carries a universal application for all believers! If we are going to be faithful witnesses to Christ we cannot 'rank' sin and give certain 'sins' a pass while condemning other sins. ALL sin is unholy and strips us of the integrity of the Gospel... all sin infects us and pollutes our heart! We must seek to live lives that shun any sinful behavior no matter how insignificant society may deem it... there are no LITTLE sins in the economy of God.

Now while we must seek to always live a holy and righteous life, there are 2 things we cannot fall prey to while pursuing such a life. FIRST, we can and must NEVER presume that because we are seeking to live holy and righteous lives that we are somehow spiritually superior to others. This was one of the faults Jesus found with the Pharisees, their religious superiority complex. As believers, we are ALL sinners saved by the magnanimous grace of a loving God and we cannot claim superiority to anyone! Our claim must be thanksgiving in all things because of the grace of God!

The second trap we can fall into is thinking that we can actually live a sinless life. Now Christ desires our pursuit of a holy life, but 1 John 1 shares with us that we cannot live sinless lives in this world! Because this is an impossibility God has made provision for us in the person of Jesus Christ and there is a promise in 1 John 1:9 that offers this provision. "...If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness..." This means while we seek to live a righteous life, we will fall, but God has enabled a cleansing for us when we do sin. This does not mean we have a license to sin, but that God has provided forgiveness and cleansing from sin when we do fall. We must seek that holy and perfect life, but God is there to catch us when we fall, pick us up, dust us off and send us back down His path. What a wonderful promise from the ONE who has given us ALL things!

While the actions of these few people on this past Mother's Day were heinous and unconscionable, we must keep sin in perspective as believers! ALL sin is against God and ALL sin is heinous and destructive to our hearts and souls! As believers, thru prayer, we have Christ to fall back upon when it comes to sin in our lives. He is our protector, deliverer, Savior and Redeemer and He has promised to guard our hearts and our minds in Him. So when you are tempted OR when you fall prey to the temptation of sin, know that you have an Advocate and His name is Jesus! PRAISE BE TO GOD!


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  2. Well, a lot has been going on outside the 100 acre wood!! This is certainly an event of evil nature that disrupted a community and its reflection upon the meaning and joy of motherhood.
    There are some that would ask, "Where is God in all of this?" Rightly so. Your reference to sin and the sin-nature of all mankind begs the question regarding the "goodness" of God; or as some have put it, "Why would a loving God allow such events as this?"
    First, one must separate the concept of sin from the concept of good and evil. As you have well described, one can only sin against God. After all, He is the one who has made the rules and reigns as the judge of all things righteous and unrighteous.
    Good and evil are human perceptions regarding people, events and / or places that we agree or disagree with. This is why humans can prioritize both good and evil in relative terms as better or best.
    In God's view, humans either sin or don't sin, based upon our manifestion of the willingness to live righteous lives before God.
    Clearly, whoever was involved in this shooting, was / were not aware of the need to live righteously before God. I suspect, just a guess here, that God did not ordain the shooting of innocents in inner New Orleans at a parade. One could reasonably classify this event as an unrighteous act and thereby, to be sin.
    That being said, God certainly allowed it to happen. One must take this position or He is not God and not aware of all that is going on in His creation. We are back to the earlier questions.
    God has a plan and purpose. Either God's plan is to let man work out ALL aspects of his existence on earth and God will remain detached; ie, He has set everything in motion and is no longer interested in the everyday humdrum of running a universe; or God is intimately involved with His creation, at all time, everywhere.
    To take the first position is give this act of violence a meaningless existence and bring hopelessness to the several people injured. Unfortunately, this is a growing position of thought in the world, thus, we see an ever-increasing suicide rate. If there is no meaning to the world then the greatest good one can do is to eliminate themselves from the world and stop being a burden to those around them. How sad.
    The second position not only provides the basis for sin, but also, allows for the injured, both physical and spiritual, to find meaning and direction, albeit painful, from God who loves beyond all measure of mankind's capacity or ability to understand and exemplify this love.
    We can cry with the New Orleanians that endured this tragedy, but we must appeal to the author and finisher of creation to seek His purpose in this tragedy. Without God, there is no answer other than the useless summary that humans will hurt humans.
    So, is this judgment, punishment or an act that God wants to demonstrate His sovereignty through? We can only know the answer by searching our own hearts at the throne of God's grace and mercy. One thing we can be assured of, God brought Jesus Christ to earth to die for the sin of all mankind. In time, the humans on earth will go to their graves and this painful incident will be forgotten, however, the pain and joy of the death, burial and resurrection of the son of God, will forever impact all of creation, including humankind.