We have a heart problem.
This past weekend, the United States experienced two tragic mass shootings. Within minutes, rather than calling for the people of our nation to come together in peace with love and support for our families, friends and neighbors, rather than allowing our nation the chance to grieve, the news agencies on every side were spinning these tragedies for political gain. In the days that followed, we heard about gun control, racism, our “white nationalist problem”, immigration, the situation at our southern border, and how the president was somehow to blame for all of it.
The problem is, this weekend was not our first rodeo when dealing with such tragedies. Our current president is not the first president to sit through such tragedies. He is also not the first president whom nearly half the nation is unhappy with, or whom they blame. In fact, this is nearly always the case with presidents since our nation has been deeply divided politically for generations. Sadly, racism occurs within people of every skin color. Extremists and radicals exist in every race, political party, and religion. And, many people, particularly politicians and the media, like to greedily pounce upon any situation that may help them to advance their own chosen agenda or that will allow them media attention for personal gain.
Our nation is most definitely facing a real problem. It’s a dangerous problem. In reality, however, the core problem our nation is facing is not white nationalism. It’s not racism. It’s not gun control. It’s not our political divide.
What we really have is a heart problem.
It’s a sin problem.
And, it’s fatal.
Are the above issues problems that need to be addressed? Yes. But, are any one of these problems the core issue that, once solved, will magically fix everything? No. Because what we are really suffering from is a heart problem, a sin problem, a much deeper problem than anything our news agencies are capable of covering.
As Christians, we come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Christians exist in every race, every financial class, every political party, and every continent. As Christians, we span the full spectrum of beliefs on issues such as gun control, how to handle the situation at our borders and other hot political issues. But, as Christians, we must also recognize that we are all created equal in the eyes of God. We are, regardless of skin color, all made in God’s very image. We are all brothers and sisters, children of the King. Jesus has commanded us to love our neighbors as He has loved us, regardless of race or political beliefs. Therefore, we must recognize that an extremist on any side does not represent us. He or she does not get to define us. And, we must not let the world, including the media, stir up anger and hatred among us or cause us to forget who we really are as children of God and how we are called to love one another.
We do have a heart problem (and by “we” I mean you and me, not just everyone else). We need to recognize that every single one of us is a sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God. We need to recognize that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We need to recognize that we live in a broken and sinful world, where bad things happen to good people, for reasons we will never be able to comprehend. And, we need to recognize that we are justified not by any action of our own (we are not better than anyone else). Under God’s Law, we have been condemned. Each and every one of us.
But through the Gospel, we have been redeemed! Hallelujah! Jesus Christ died for all people because He loves us with a love so deep that He gave up His own life for ours, so that we could be made holy and just and be set free from the consequences of our sin. He loves us, even with our heart problem, even with our struggles, even knowing every sin we have ever committed or will commit. He loves us enough to wash away our sins and cure us of our heart problem, a cure that is only found through the cross of Christ. He loves us enough to desire to spend eternity with us. How deep the Father’s love for us truly is! He gave up everything. He did this for me and He did this for you.
This is the message that our country needs to hear. But you will not hear this message on the news. Instead, God has called you to be His messenger to share this Good News! To share the Gospel is the most basic calling of every Christian. Let us not name the killers. Let us not blame our neighbors. Let us not blame one race or another, for God created each race to glorify Him and we are equal in His sight. Let us not be part of perpetuating fear, distrust and hatred.
Let us, instead, be instruments of God’s grace. Let us, through Christ, comfort those who mourn. Let us bring peace to those in turmoil. Let us share His great love with all whom we engage both through our words as well as our actions. Let us forgive one another as our Lord has forgiven us. Let us be in the world, but not of the world. Let us put the needs of others before our own. Let us be Christ with skin on to those who need Him the most. And, through it all, let us rejoice in what our Lord has done for us, what He has given us, and the new creation that we have become in Him.
Should we watch the news and learn of what is happening in this world? Of course. But we must recognize that the news, whether presented from the left or the right, always has a spin. It is never pure truth. As humans, we cannot help but to present and view things from a human perspective that is influenced by our experiences, passions, and even our sin. All involved, on all sides, have a heart problem just as we have a heart problem. The Lord calls us to discern with care because the only one who never had a heart problem was Jesus Christ. And, Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). God’s Word is the only place where Pure Truth is found. Let us spend more time in His Word than in sources that are trying to deceive us, sway us, or pit us against one another. Let us move forward in the real truth, love and freedom that comes from Christ alone. For the Word of the Lord, which points to the cross of Christ, is the only cure for our otherwise very fatal heart problem.