This past week, we in America experienced the most horrific mass shooting in American history. At the time of writing this, 59 people are dead, and over 500 are injured. Not much surprises me anymore, but I had to read the headline three times the next morning in order to process what had happened.
“Oh, what a horrible, screwed up person,” we think. Maybe. “I would never be able to do something like that.” Can you honestly say that? Do you KNOW that?
According to this man’s family and friends, there was no indication of any of this kind of hatred in his actions or his speech. It was going on inside his head and seething through his heart.
Though we may never truly know why he did what he did, we must take heed to this situation. Every evil deed and devilish slight comes from a thought process of deviation.
Not one serial killer, rapist, extortionist, liar, faker, or spiteful person began that way. You don’t get from point A to point B in a moment, or even a few moments. Whatever horrible, sinful person you and I have the potential to become (or are, if we’re honest) starts with a little compromise. A tiny, seemingly insignificant choice in the wrong direction is all it takes to spiral out of control, and become the very person you said you would never be. It is like if a pilot strays one degree off course and keeps going - by the time he goes the distance he was supposed to, he is in a completely different place than he meant to be.
But there is hope, and that hope is found in staying a close to Jesus as possible. Do not stray even one bit. Make the ever often quoted Psalm 139:23 your mantra (heck, memorize the whole thing!). Say no to the sinful situations that arise, even the ones that are “no big deal”. They will become a big deal.
James 4:8 says it beautifully when it advises, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
In order to stay out of trouble and be who we need to be, we must stay clean. And in order to stay clean, we must cling to Jesus. His light will forever reveal our minds and hearts for who they really are, and his spiritual water will continually wash us of the grime and filth we allow ourselves to collect. Isn’t that incredible? Rejoice!