9 Killed in Shooting at Omaha Mall
5 Killed in New Life Church, YWAM Attacks
6 Shot After Leaving Vegas School Bus
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Today I was thinking about my advent post on peace. I was thinking about shalom and the restoration of all things to the way that they were intended to be. God’s intentional restoration is so amazing.
Yet this evening as I read the headlines and grieved for the families of those who lost loved ones, I also wondered about the lost and wounded souls who committed these violent acts. They seemed so far away from even beginning to grasp the love that could heal them.
In particular, I read about the young man from the Colorado shootings, wondering what caused him to target Christian groups. Apparently he was raised in a religious family that went to church. However, somewhere along the way the message of God’s love was distorted to him.
Ideally for each of us, as we grow in our relationship with the Father, the sins and wounds from our past are dealt with, and we grow in our experience of peace. But what happens when the very thing that has the power to heal and save is presented as abuse, shame, and control?
Yes, the killers are responsible, but what evil influenced them to the point of becoming the twisted and angry people they were? Virginia Tech, Columbine, and so many more. Would Jesus have recognized these outcasts hovering at the brink of despair and violence? Could they have been reachable?
Global peace, national peace, peace in our cities and streets, peace in our relationships and families – all of these are important. We are to be peacemakers, but in order to do that, we must experience peace ourselves.
As long as we act out of our brokenness, we will inflict pain on others, both intentionally and unintentionally. Of course not to the degree of these tragedies. Just the little things, like impatience with our children, criticism of our spouse, angry words to the store clerk, gestures to stupid drivers, all the little things that show our lack of peace oozing out the cracks of our vessel.
Peace doesn’t just happen. We all know the broken parts of our own lives – the areas where we struggle, where we feel ashamed of who we are, the things we are most afraid are true about ourselves. Quite often, these are the areas where we over-react. We sometimes become angry or anxious when others trigger our weaknesses. This is usually a big clue that there is an underlying issue that needs healing.
We will begin to experience wholeness when we bring these issues before the Father, one by one, for however long is necessary, allowing Him to reveal whatever is necessary to heal our hearts and minds. Our relationship with the Father can and should be one of progressive peace and wholeness.
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
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