In the wake of the school shooting in Florida many are saying that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough, and are turning, once again, to government to solve their problems. But government is only a partial solution.
The problem is not just gun possession, or mental health, or too few laws, or poor follow-up by law enforcement. The problem is the presence of evil in our society and our cultivation of it.
Yes, thoughts and prayers are not enough. But don’t use that to vilify God. His word teaches us not just to pray, but also to repent when we are going wrong. Repent, change our minds, leave the crooked path and go back to the right one. Those who follow God are supposed to do so in word and deed and be led by His Spirit in the things He has ordained for us to do.
The death of The Rev. Billy Graham should remind us of those basic godly truths that he preached so simply and elegantly. God loves us. He has a plan for us, in a path that is good for us. He has provided the grace for us to be reconciled to His righteousness through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And also that we ought to love and take care of each other.
Nikolas Cruz, as many other troubled people, should not have been allowed to isolate himself and hide behind the ambiguousness of the internet. He should have had someone who would reach out to him and speak to his soul before he committed such a heinous act. Not through psychology, the manipulation of the mind, but from a friend led by the Spirit of God to speak to his heart and soul, and offer a better way.
If government wants to help, it needs to separate itself from being in competition with faith in God and acknowledge the benefit of cooperating with those persons and organizations who are moved with His compassion. Should we have common sense gun laws? Yes! But these sad events are just symptoms; the disease is evil and sin in the hearts of people.
Taking the secular view that such things do not exist is willful ignorance. You cannot expect to have a society with all the benefits of godliness while divorcing yourself from the acknowledgement of God and His truth.
So what can the churches do to change this? First, repent. Go back to the basic truths of God that should be your foundation. Encourage and set loose your members to live openly their faith, not hiding it in the walls and family of the church alone. Big, well attended and supported churches should support the failing neighborhood churches to reach out where people live. Especially aiming for those neighborhoods where troubled people live. Live your Christianity in word and deed.
Do what the words of the prophesy about Christ said he would do, and he in turn has commissioned his followers to do: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to the bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” Isaiah 61:1-2.
A balanced gospel to set people free from sin and injustice, but also to save us all from the consequences of the self-destruction the wrong road takes us to.
Tim Stormont is a local architect and lifelong East Bakersfield resident. The opinions expressed are his own.