A Week of American Tragedy

October 30, 2018

What a week in American tragedy!

  • Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.
  • After mail bombs were being sent to people who'd been criticized by the president, a suspect was arrested Friday—a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.
  • And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.

CNN said, “Those 3 incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.”

Sunday afternoon, some 90 minutes or so before the Warriors were to take on the Brooklyn Nets, Coach Steve Kerr was impassioned, yet again saddened, by the tragedy and the climate that purportedly caused it: “It’s just devastating. I just expect it now and that’s just the sad thing,” Kerr said. “I remember watching an interview with a student after the Santa Fe shooting in Texas [in May]. A 14-year-old girl was asked, “Did this shock you?” She said, “No, I expected that this would happen to us at our school at some point.” That’s where we’ve gotten as a country. We’re broken right now. So nothing surprises us anymore. Nothing surprises me anymore. There are shootings at schools, churches, synagogues, malls, movies theaters.”

It IS hate.

We ARE broken as a country.

But it’s because we are made up of broken, hate-filled individuals. Fortunately, only a few of us take to that kind of violence with our hate and brokenness. Many more of us fuel the anger by divisive words and opinions unleashed on social media, television, personal conversations, and rude, insensitive behavior. Many more of us actually contribute to the problem by ignoring it as much as we can, shaking our heads as we read the newspaper articles or hear the news, and moving on as quickly as we can. We entrench ourselves in our positions, blaming political parties and institutions, as if they were animate and could operate without human direction. We do nothing constructive. We don’t know what to do.

While we can argue indefinitely about a change of administration, a change in gun laws, or a number of other issues, the only thing that can cause a massive change is a massive revival of truth and faith. A great revival led by John and Charles Wesley in England is credited for saving England from the bloody revolutions and acts of hatred that decimated much of Europe in the 1700s. It was preceded by earnest prayer, deep repentance, and corporate confession and change. What if that happened here? What if we as believers did what God said:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

You think that’s too religious? Too spiritual? Too simple? Hard to refute if it hasn’t been tried.

As for me, I feel a great sense or urgency and humility. This is MY country that is broken. This is MY world, filled with hate. I am part of God’s people, and I believe He is calling me to humble myself, pray, seek His face, and turn from anything that is not holy and helpful in me. Who knows what God might do if enough of us did that?

Lord, hear our prayers.

Lord Jesus, come.

Heal me. Heal my land.