By Laura D. Field – Reflective Tapestry of Life
We are surrounded by a variation of events that can make even the most devout Christian believer question “where is God in all this?” From all the mass shootings and terrorism to all the variable abuse that we see in our culture, I personally wonder if society even has a grip on what their own responsibility might be.
God gave each human life the gift of “free will”. This means that we have the ability to act and think without any constraints of whether it will affect our fate in life or those around us. We have the freedom of choice. Yet, we also live with laws that were designed to keep our society safe and in order.
God also gave each of us the ability to love or to hate; to forgive or to become bitter; to become leaders or to be followers. The list of options of who we are and who we become is endless, considering the countless variable personalities and life experiences we encounter throughout our lives.
Another mass shooting occurs, with a scorecard of many more our country has endured over this past year: 351 shootings in the past 334 days of 2015, all within the USA (Ingraham, 2015). This is horrific! I have yet to find the 2015 statistics of child beatings and sexual assault, but they exist, including within the confines of Christian homes. For me this is even more than horrific, but also very heartbreaking.
When a person uses the shield of their faith or religion to hide behind or use as their excuse to cause pain and harm to others, which is their method to obtain power, is NOT something that God designed or chose for us. Yet, so often, when things fall apart in society, the blame is immediately placed on God. “Where is God?” “Why does God allow this?”
It all comes back to His gift of life; He provided us the freedom to choose. Yet, if God is full of love, how do we become so hateful, mean, abusive and careless, seeking power over others? Definitely a question I asked numerous times as I sought healing for what I encountered as a child.
But, lets take a moment to look within the mirror and ask ourselves; do I have anger within me? Are there people who I avoid because of how they make me feel? Do I anger quickly? Can I embrace someone who hurt me in the past? Do I have the need to be powerful over others? The questions are endless, and yet when we reflect on who we are as individuals, allowing the reflection of truth to be transparent in who we are, we might discover “why” there is evil in our world.
It is not about God, unless you want to blame Him for our free will. It is about our choices. We choose to heal or not. We choose to follow and conform to the evil leaders of our world. We also have fear, for our children, for our family and loved ones, that some will choose to do whatever they are told to in order to protect them.
In some cultures and churches, people are taught to fear God. There are many verses that speak of fearing the Lord, but what many do not understand is that the bible shares that the fear of the Lord is for knowledge, wisdom and instruction: Prov. 1:7 ”The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” KJV
Let’s be real. The Bible is full of violence, yet every step of the way, God was there instructing, while people were making their choices. A prime example is of when Moses was on Mount Sinai, receiving the 10 Commandments, and the people gave up on God and return to their sin. They forget that God led them out of bondage. And yes, in some cases, such as in Job, God allowed his most faithful to prove to Satan that those who love Him (God) do not fear Him.
As individuals we are not to blame for what happened yesterday in San Bernardino, more so when we live on the east coast or abroad. If we are not abusing another individual, we are not responsible, yet if we are aware of the situation, we are accountable to help. We are accountable in how we treat others. It should not be a Christmas “thing” to help others in need; it should be something that is always on our heart. When we shop or within our work environment, we choose to be rude or to smile and be kind and help. When we do lose our “cool” we choose to walk away or choose to return with a since apology in hopes of seeking forgiveness.
With natural disasters, where many die or lose their homes, it is not God’s desire to see people suffer, but He does desire to see people care for the earth in which we are entrusted.
Unfortunately, we live in a “damaged” society of people who have been hurt, with the learned response to hurt others and in some cases themselves. This is unfortunate and extremely sad. But, we do have the choice to change, albeit difficult at times, we have the choice to care for those who are hurting and going through some challenging times. We need to chose to open our eyes and our arms to help where we are led to help.
Terrorism is all about power. It is not about God “allowing” evil to occur. We need to be proactive in our defense as well as how we work together to get through the trial of terror.
Our culture needs to change. We need to honor our ability to respect, love and have compassion for those around us. And yet, we are not called to be the doormat for the world to inflict evil, but rather to embrace and care for others, with discernment, with what is already within our midst. We need to protect and defend against the evil, which will not change.
I do not believe that evil will ever be eradicated, as it has been with us since the beginning of time. But I do believe in the human heart, in that if we each decide to make an effort in protecting our children, our neighbor, ourselves and country, while stopping the violence within our own small culture, we can work together to protect ourselves against the terror within the world, that attacks us unexpectantly.
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” KJV
Update: Many are sharing (via social media) that the Washing Post article I quoted to be inaccurate. So I chose to go to Snopes.com and see what their take was on this mass hysteria of media vs. media, and to date there are actually 310 for this past year. Please read the article and understand that mass shootings are not just about what we read or see on the news, but also the small shootings of 4 or more being injured/killed. Reality is that this happens daily yet we do not hear about every one. http://www.snopes.com/351-mass-shootings/
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer
Evon, Dan. Dec. 3, 2015. Retrieved Dec. 4, 2015. http://www.snopes.com/351-mass-shootings/
Ingraham, Christopher. Nov. 30, 2015. Washington Post. Retrieved Dec. 3, 2015 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/30/there-have-been-334-days-and-351-mass-shootings-so-far-this-year/