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June 22, 2015, 12:10 PM

Time to Stop Hitting the Snooze!

America has been given another wake up call.  Perhaps we need to stop reaching for the snooze button and get up and answer the call.  

Evil, racism, hatred and wickedness are all multi-faceted and very real.  

None of these have a particular face, color or description.  None of them fit into a convenient pre-packaged box.  They exist, and they are everywhere.  

What happened in Charleston,  Emanuel AME Church is terrible, tragic, sickening and heart wrenching.  It is also another event in a long and growing line of events that defy description and comprehension.  We are faced, once again with several grievous realities that we must refuse to continue to ignore.

We cannot ignore the fact that racism was certainly a factor in this latest atrocity.  It is clear that based on past history, flags of Apartheid and racist manifesto’s that race was an issue.  

Hatred is also an issue that we cannot sweep under the rug.  Whether it be hatred from his own being mistreated or not does not negate the fact that no matter what are upbringing may be, we ultimately make our own decisions and develop our own attitudes and behaviors.  

It is clear that the things we surround ourselves with impact our lives and impact our thinking.  People, books, music etc. will effect our lives for either good or for evil.  There really is no in-between.  The decisions you make today will shape your tomorrow.  

Let us also call this act what it is…Terrorism.  Terrorism does not come as a one size fits all model.  This man terrorized a group of people who had opened their arms to him.  They had from all accounts embraced him with love and warmth and He in turn terrorized them.

The one redeeming portion of this story as tragic as it is, has been the response of the families of the victims and those of this church.  Their willingness to forgive.  Their readiness to love.  Even in the face of a watching world who has in some cases decried their forgiveness as naive and impossible they have been a shining beacon of light.  

It is understandable that we as human beings find it difficult if not impossible as people to forgive an act such as this.  We cannot even fathom someone expressing forgiveness and compassion while being sincere.  Anyone expressing such sentiment is often doubted or even ridiculed.  Don’t believe it then read the comments in the news regarding the forgiveness expressed by the victims families.  They have offered their own forgiveness and pointed this monster to the one who can eternally forgive despite what anyone else has to say.

What America and the world need to understand and have explained is this:

As heinous and seemingly unforgivable this is by man’s standard of understanding, we can forever be grateful that God and His mercy operate on an infinitely higher plane than we do. All sin/evil is heinous in God’s sight. God alone can give us or rather the families of victims the ability to forgive and love. His soul is as redeemable as my own thanks to the shed blood of calvary and repentance from sin. 

That being said although there can be forgiveness, there are still consequences to our actions.  

As a society and a people who live in this country and in this world we must wake up and stop hitting the snooze button.  We must stop sweeping these issues under the rug.  We must acknowledge that no amount of psychology, psychiatry or secular therapy will ultimately do what needs to be done.

Equally as true, no amount of human effort can give us the compassion that is needed to forgive acts like this in our own strength.

More or better gun laws is not the answer.  More and better drugs and therapies are not the answer.  What is the answer is to realize the real heart of the problem is the heart.  The heart must be changed.

Evil, racism, hatred and wickedness are all multi-faceted and very real.  They are also the results of a heart problem because of sin.  The only one who can change the heart is the same one that the victims where at church praying to.  They are the same ones that the families of the victims were pointing this man too…His name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus alone can change the heart of both the evil, racist, hateful, and wicked.  

Jesus alone can also change the heart of the one struggling to forgive and love.

 

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