Treating the Cancer

First and foremost, the violent act and the loss of life in the recent Arizona shootings are a tragedy. I weep with those who have lost loved ones and with those who have serious injuries to overcome. May God keep you tightly in His Grip and give you a peace and comfort that surpass your understanding.

Yesterday I found myself commenting on another blog (something I don’t do often), offering a sliver of my perspective on the latest controversy with the Arizona shooting. The dialogue got me involved enough to conjure up my own post. The claim in the news is that violent, divisive rhetoric from the Republican political party is to blame for the shooting. Just a few (of many) thoughts I have on this…

First, if you search for assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. Presidents, it is clear that both Republicans and Democrats have been victims to this heinous act. This is not a partisan issue.

Second, many of these acts occurred long before Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, and Glenn Beck even existed. This is not a current issue.

Zeal on this matter is warranted, however I believe the current attention in the media is misdirected. We all believe something wrong has occurred and we want justice, but to blame things like violent rhetoric is a distraction from a more central dilemma. There is a conflict within us all — we want to see fairness and justice and “good,” but we have the incapability (neither as a race nor as individuals) to perfectly uphold this standard. This want for good yet inability to be perfectly good, if not dealt with, becomes restless within us.

For many people, it is an unresolved conflict, and it’s much easier to blame some surfacey problem than to address the crux of the issue. If politicians will just speak more kindly about each other than this wouldn’tve happened. If we banned violent movies and video games then there would be no crime. If we were more educated about mental illnesses (which the shooter was believed to have) then all will be well. Stricter gun laws will bring world peace.

No, no, no, and no. These may help reduce crime rates temporarily, but these will not fix the core issue. Treating abdominal pain with a pain pill seems rather foolish if the root cause of the pain is cancer. The pill may offer temporary relief, but to ignore the underlying disease would be fatal.

We are in a predicament. We understand there is some moral code, some Golden Rule, that we cannot bear to see violated, yet we ourselves are incapable of perfectly upholding it. None of us on our own are capable of being perfectly good.

After you peel back all of the culpable layers, this core dilemma pervasive throughout humanity is the cause of the tragic Arizona shooting. The shooter fell way short of the standard. And even though it might seem like our blunders aren’t nearly as shameful as his, the truth is we all fall short of the standard too. No, a pain pill will not treat this cancer.

Hope

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The Valley of Megiddo in Israel.  In Hebrew it is called Har Megiddo, what we know as Armageddon.  It is 50 miles long and 50 miles wide.  Here is where the Bible says the battle will take place (Zechariah 12:11, Revelation 16:16) between good and evil, between Christ returned and the Antichrist.  Christ prevails in this battle (Revelation 17:14), and then in Revelation 20 it explains that after this Christ will reign on Earth while Satan is captive.

For a thousand years the Earth will have the privilege of knowing and living with a perfect government, made perfect by an omnipotent, omniscient, holy leader.  After Satan’s imprisonment during this thousand years, he will be released and will build up one last army to fight against Christ.  As depicted in Revelation 20, Satan and his army will lose this final battle and will be forever separated from God and God’s faithful followers.

Did you hear that?  Even with a perfect government in place Satan will be able to gather people who willingly choose to fight against the ruler, against Christ.  The problem has never been a poorly run government or an economic bailout or an unmerited war or an incapable leader – even in a perfect government people will revolt.  The core issue has always been and will always be the heart of man.  We are fallen and imperfect.  Our human sinful nature is in conflict with what is right and true and holy.

Today was a monumental day in our country.  We inaugurated the 44th President of the United States of America.  Today we inaugurated the first black President of this nation.  The events were impressive as usual, though there was an added flare of emotion as this marks another ‘first’ in U.S. history.

I did not vote for Barack Obama.  I do not agree with most of his policies and have a different philosophy on the role and purpose of government.  I will, however, do my best to respect him as our President.  I will try my best to submit to his rules and laws as long as they do not compromise my adherence to God’s highest authority.  I pray that the decisions President Obama makes will ultimately bring blessings upon our country.

I will not, however, join the voices that deify him.  There has been so much talk of hope around this election and this President.  I understand the desire to have a competent government that generally serves its people well, but in what exactly are we being asked to place our hope?  Hope in an imperfect government?  Hope in an imperfect man?  I can’t hope in that because I know it will inevitably leave me disappointed.  I am not trying to be cynical, but am merely acknowledging that no mere man and no one administration will ever wash away the world’s problems or the country’s problems.  Rather, my hope is in the One who can make this promise —

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

President Obama is intelligent and well-spoken.  He will be a face of endless opportunities for children that think they have limits – they will think about what could be instead of simply what is now.  But there is only one perfect and holy One that can save me from my fallen, sinful state and there is only One that can uphold such lofty promises as offered in Revelation 21:4.  My hope is in him.

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4, 5