Last Week in America and the World

Dallas Shooting

Credit: DallasNews.com

What better way to end this seventh year of Perspectives articles than with a few observations about our church body based on last week’s 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in Milwaukee? While inclined to do so, I’ve decided to begin the eighth year of Perspectives with an article on that topic next week. Today I feel constrained to address other events that occurred last week and at too many other times in our nation and around the world.

Insane and premeditated attacks and ambushes, bombings and brutality, vitriol and violence continues to plague our nation and world! For starters, I would hope and pray that anyone in a position of political, racial or religious authority and influence in our country and around the world would immediately cease any hint of verbal justification of such atrocities and instead denounce these barbaric activities unequivocally!

Rationalization or justification of violence in any form empowers those with a propensity toward such behavior, precipitating new incidents that take the lives of innocent women, men and children. Black lives matter! White lives matter! The lives of those unjustly treated by officers of the law matter! The lives of law enforcement officers matter! The lives of grieving family members of those who die matter! Young lives matter! Old lives matter! Unborn lives matter! All lives matter! Jesus came to give life, in all its fullness! (John 10:10) Life is precious!

Might gun control legislation be helpful? Perhaps. I see no need for rapid fire machine guns to be as readily available as they appear to be. Yet the reality is that gun control alone will not deter those who are ideologically or mentally or religiously imbalanced from doing the dastardly deeds we’ve seen way too frequently in recent months. When Cain killed Abel thousands of years ago, he had no firearm at his disposal. Yet he did what he set out to do.

The real root cause of all evil, especially the kind we’ve recently seen, is spiritual depravity. The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21). The devil will always walk around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). King David was beset on every side by enemies who hated him (Psalm 25:19). Jesus was brutally killed. So long as the world exists, man’s inhumanity to man will continue to wreak havoc upon peaceful, law abiding citizens.

What can you do? What can I do?

  • Pray for, encourage and express appreciation to law enforcement officers and military personnel.
  • Petition political and religious leaders at every level to speak out against violence of every kind.
  • If you see something or someone suspicious, say something to someone who can help!
  • Pray for all who lay their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of our land.
  • Take appropriate protective precautions wherever and whenever possible.
  • Pray for divine intervention to thwart the devil’s destructive desires.

Above all, say this: Lord, have mercy!

Ferguson

Credit:  NBC News

Credit: NBC News

Seemingly, the dust has settled a bit on the protests, demonstrations and looting in Ferguson, Missouri. Those activities followed the decision of a grand jury not to indict the policeman who shot an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, a few months ago.

As most are aware, the protests, demonstrations and looting spread from Ferguson to places as far away as Oakland, Cal. and New York City. Stores were burned, valuable items were looted, bridges were blocked and mayhem was unleashed.

A public servant in Milwaukee County who was interviewed on national television said that the biggest source of the problem is lack of respect for authority. When young men are raised with no responsible adult male in the family, respect for authority often does not develop.

When such young men are confronted by policemen for unlawful behavior, including robbery and resisting arrest, those young men all too often react violently. That violent response triggers forceful actions by law enforcement officers that result in injury or even death of the perpetrator, of the protector, or of both.

The Commandments given by God to Moses millennia ago are still apropos today, particularly:

  • The Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill.
  • The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal.

No one I know is happy when any person, especially a young person, is shot and killed, particularly by an officer of the law. No one I know condones or supports wrongful behavior in response to legal decisions properly made. The troubles in Ferguson and other parts of our country are improper, inappropriate and wrongful responses to wrongful behavior.

What’s the bottom line?

  • If you don’t violate the law, you won’t have trouble with officers of the law.
  • If you do have trouble with the law, don’t exacerbate the situation with acts of violence.
  • It’s unrealistic to expect sinful human beings to end such violence automatically.
  • We have much work to do in our church, our country and our world to restore proper respect for time honored, God given values and the people who teach and enforce them.

In the meantime, it will take a miracle for what happened in Ferguson never to happen again!