Every day sorrow strikes somewhere. Every day people experience loss, pain, and grief. The prevalence of such tragedy does not lessen the importance of – nor should it dull our senses to – the sorrow.
Today, Monday the 18th, the lives of three people ended in a Walmart parking lot. The early reports are that it was a domestic dispute and not the result of a mass shooter. The only reason I’m writing about this is that this particular parking lot is just down the road from where I live. I once worked in the store, and my family shops there most Monday mornings.
When these incidents happen, and they happen frequently in many places all over the world, it is important to recognize the cause and the solution.
The cause is sin
Man is the pinnacle of God’s creative work. Made in the likeness of God, man has an immortal soul and a mind capable of reason and contemplation. We were created to serve and glorify God. But God gave us freedom of choice. The first two human beings chose to sin.
After sin entered the world, man’s degeneration was swift. The first violent act recorded is that of a jealous man murdering his brother. Since that time, violence has been a feature more than a bug in human society. Before the flood God saw that “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5 ESV).
While the flood cleansed the earth, sin had a foothold in the heart of man that the flood could not touch. Man went right back to disobedience. Nimrod was a mighty hunter in defiance of God (Genesis 10:8-12). The term “hunter” likely referred to hunting of men (see the NET notes). Even some who were part of God’s plan behaved wickedly (see Genesis 34).
“The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). His is a world of chaos, division, revenge, and pain. He wants to fan the flame of pride, selfishness, and greed. He rejoices when lives are lost and when grief is prevalent.
When life is lost we should blame sin and sin’s chief proponent. We should sorrow when tragedy ends the life of one made in the image of God, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the end. Most importantly, we should resolve to present to the world the only real solution to the sorrow of this life.
The solution is Jesus
There is no room for debate here. The more people who are living redeemed, sanctified, Christ-like lives, the less violence and heartache would touch us. Jesus is the solution to sin in all its forms. Only Jesus can change the hearts of sinful men. Only Jesus can turn the desires of our hearts outward and upward rather than inward. Only Jesus can soothe the pain inflicted in this world by offering man temporal and eternal peace.
Inevitably the solutions proposed by many are short-sighted, divisive, and provincial. We do Jesus a disservice by instigating those discussions, and we may miss the one opportunity we have to speak a good word for Jesus.
Let us engage the world substantively, as God’s children and for his cause. Let us provide hope to the world. Let us offer the one universal solution to all of man’s sorrow.