Monday, December 10, 2007

Colors of Christmas

Christmas brings out the best of humanity. We become more giving, more caring, and more serving. There is something about human nature that suggests that we should be more accomodating and more magnanimous during this season. As a result, it makes it doubly difficult to understand that this season also brings out the worst of humanity. I'm certainly not a psychologist, but I think a basic understanding of the scriptures qualifies anyone to speak to the 'psychology' of human nature..."For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3: 23)

Early last week we dealt with the senseless killing spree of yet another disgruntled gunman at an Omaha, Nebraska shopping mall. Reportedly, one of the victims happened to be at the mall to buy a dress for his two year old daughter. Sadly she will never get to attend a father/daughter dance with him. He will never get the opportunity to give her a chastity-promise ring. He will miss the privilege of modeling for his daughter how she should be treated by a man. Preliminary reports, in an attempt to find answers as to why the killer 'snapped', informed us that he had just recently lost his job at McDonalds and his girlfriend had just broken off their relationship. Yesterday, this dark side of humanity surfaced yet again. At around 12.30am (in the small hours of Sunday morning) another gunman killed 2 people and injured 2 others at a YWAM base in Arvada, Colorado. Approximately 12 hours later, at New Life Church (where I served as associate pastor for five years) in Colorado Springs, Colorado (about 70 miles south of Arvada) a gunman of similar description ended the lives of two more people and wounded another two before he was shot to death.

We can conjecture and speculate all we want as to why these senseless tragedies occur, but I am persuaded that the real answer to why these 'dark colors' of humanity seem to surface during a season when there is meant to be so much joy, love and giving, has nothing to do with lost jobs or broken relationships. We were created by a loving God to live in relationship with HIM. Out of that relationship flows the ability to live in healthy community with others. Whether we acknowledge it or not, it is that pivotal relationship that serves as the principal hub for human relationships. The value of life is magnified in the understanding that Jesus gave His life in exchange for ours (Whether you believe this or not does not make this truth subjective). This season has a way of highlighting the void in our hearts that results from an absence of a true relationship with the Savior of mankind. While it's true that the majority don't resort to violence as a display of that void, the few who do, make it patently obvious that we need a Savior.

So today, on the other side of these senseless deaths, as we pray for the families and survivors of these meaningless acts of violence, it is incumbent upon me to tell you that there is a God to whom we must answer. If you don't have a point of reference for the depravity of mankind that informs both the best and the worst of us, let me give you one... "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17: 9). Today I'm asking that you spare a moment to pray for the hurting families and friends.


Hope said...

We may live in separate countries but many Canadians feel a connection to our brothers and sisters down south. I will certainly pray. We are one family under God. We all feel the loss together and so, we should be united in our prayers. "If you believe, you will receive what you ask for in prayer." Lord, I pray that your Spirit will comfort and bring peace to those who are left behind to grieve these losses. I pray that you would help them to find forgivenss in their hearts. I pray that you will bless them with your presence in their very great time of need. Amen.

Joseph said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and your prayers. They are truly appreciated and much needed during this season of turmoil and grief.