On June 13th, one lone gunman targeted Representative Scalise and other members of Congress in broad daylight as they enjoyed a morning practice the day before the annual charity baseball game.
Is it the tone of our political discourse which has led us to this point? Perhaps. But beneath the surface is the more significant reason. The sinful nature of humanity. We can try to deny it. We could place blame on politicians and their policies, or bigotry, mental health, drug abuse, or the “-ism” of your choice. There is no lack of places where the blame can rest.
There is this idea that we somehow can fix the problem of the day by more laws, more regulations, and more restrictions. Laws are necessary for a civilized society. They will not, however, prevent all crimes.
It is flawed men and women who fill the halls of our government. Some may be sincere in their beliefs. Others are looking for a place on the political stage. Whatever their purpose, they are still human. They are still flawed. And God can still use them.
God did something the law could never do… If you live your life animated by the flesh—namely, your fallen, corrupt nature—then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh. But if you live your life animated by the Spirit—namely, God’s indwelling presence—then your focus is on the work of the Spirit (Romans 8:3-5).
Mainstream, as well as social media, contain people with the same flaws. Individuals try to advance political causes or personal agendas. Some just feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion. There is nothing inherently wrong with advancing a cause you believe in or speaking out when you believe an injustice has occurred. It is one way we can change things for the better. Sometimes, however, the changes that we make do not improve the situation and other times make it worse. Regardless, there will always be someone who is disappointed, slighted, or outraged.
It was not the hateful rhetoric, a call to resistance, or any one of the many outrageous claims of politicians and pundits that caused this man to take aim at that baseball field. It was not the absence of more laws to restrict gun ownership. It was one man who chose to ignore the sin in his own heart even as he punished others for what he perceived was theirs. Sadly, he was not the first to do it, and he will not be the last. The nation sends love and our prayers for the victims of this shooting.
As Christians, we are called to pray for all who fall victim to sin; this includes those whose speech is hateful and divisive. It includes the self-serving thief, slanderer, and murderer. It includes the self-righteous – blind to the log in his own eye (Matt 7:3-5). We are to pray also for those who condemn us for believing we need to do so.
…Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Eph 4:14-15).
Our nation cannot legislate its way to decorum, morality, decency, or safety. Sinful people will continue to break the laws instituted by other sinful people.
There is but one remedy for sin. Jesus Christ who renews the heart.
What can Christians do to promote unity in the midst of increasing divisiveness? How have you restored peace in the midst of conflict?