Lawlessness was typical in the days of the expansion to the west of the United States during the 1800’s. It was “every man for himself,” as the saying goes. It was common place to carry a weapon, and even women and children were schooled in the use of firearms. Many feared the “wild savages” of the frontier lands. Saftey, the reasoning was, depended on bearing arms. Then a different kind of problem surfaced, however. They started to use the weapons to sack and destroy other colonizers for the sake of personal gain. That was the day of the reckless and feared “outlaw.” The issue was no longer saftey, rather it was to pillage and to rob. A firearm became a way to gain advantage over others.
In the United States today we may be seeing resurgence of the same wild western attitude toward our fellow citizen as had dominated in the days of the west-ward expansion. People lack respect for others, only because they are in the way. People show hatred toward others just because they are odd or strange. People fear and belittle others today in the USA because they have no fear of God. And it now would appear in even schools and the public market place (such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida) the lives of others are dispensable in the eyes of a few “outlaws” who have turned their backs on a sense of law and order.
(Photo: Time.com, 3-2-2018)
How did we get here? Why are so many mass murders happening in the USA? What is going on in the heart of America?
The answer to that question is not an easy one. Some think the answer is in the gun control laws, or in the minimum age to purchase assault weapons. Others see the cause in politicians who are unwilling to change or improve laws at the risk of losing their sponsors (like the NRA or major manufactures of firearms). Popular rhetoric almost always chooses to burn the straw man in spite. It sort of helps to bring some catharsis to the pain. So far, in just 2018 over 100 people have been killed by random acts of violence in the USA. And the pain continues to grow.
However, it is worth noting that virtually every democratic nation in the world allows its citizens to own and bear firearms. The issue of owning a gun has nothing to do with whether or not a person will chose to aim that gun and fire it at an innocent person. If someone has come to a point where he or she (and more often that not it’s a man!) where it makes no difference who he kills or injures with his weapon, the boy could have a BB gun or a pocket knife and still cause severe damage to some people nearby. It’s not gun ownership that causes mass shootings. The cause lies deeper…in the motives of the person who chooses to kill and harm others.
While not trying to oversimplify the causes, experience shows that a person who has not learned to control his anger or to forgive those who have hurt him may become a time bomb. Sooner or later he may explode! Over and over again men are belittled, berated, baulked at or bullied…and then the lash out to try to settle the score. This leads to having men who are angry, at themselves and at others. The result: men who have lost their manhood and are told to get out of the way. Men are told they have no value it they don’t prove their toughness, their power or their independence. Some find that the only way to recover their manliness is to destroy the weak.
What causes that boy or man to feel that way? More and more we are realizing that it is often rooted in the family. Our families are dysfunctional, oppressive, and led by foolish, weak men who have no convictions about their role in the home. The problem starts where we all live day in an day out…right in our out back yards.
As the epidemic of mass shootings grows in the USA, we must wake up to the elephant in the room. The problem is us: it is our way of thinking of ourselves and our way of looking at others. America, come to your senses! Stop blaming others. We are the problem. A lawless spirit finds its home in every human heart that is bent on getting its own way. When the seed of anger and hatred is watered by a lawless and vengeful spirit, the result of often a dangerous root of bitterness that soon produces the fruit of harmful actions and thoughts
America, please hear this simple truth! We have “stopped up our ears” and will continue to suffer if we reject reality. With simple and penetrating accuracy the Lord Jesus warned “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matt. 24:12, NASB)
How long will we turn a deaf ear to the warning signs all around us? He wants to remove that spirit of lawlessness and put in its place a heart of compassion and trust. But first the United States, as with all people in all lands, need to repent of that lawless, willful, and persistent stubbornness called sin and selfishness. We must come by simple faith to the cleansing fountain of the healing waters that Christ offered.
Only those who know they are sick go to the doctor for help. America is sick and we need to run to the only Physician who can heal the heart…to Christ Jesus Himself.
David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.