By now everyone in America is aware of the tragic events in Charleston the other day. Since and in the coming days we as a nation have choices to make. We will choose to judge, hate, fear, legislate, and either draw closer to or push away others. We will either fall victim to the fear of similar events in our own communities. Churchgoers will look over their shoulders more often and watch outsiders critically out of fear.
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
We have already seen politicians trying to leverage the blood of these men and women for their own particular myopic view of what’s wrong with this country – namely what they think is the over-proliferation of guns despite the statistics that demonstrably have proven that more guns has not led to more crime, but rather the marked decrease in violent crime.
Others will grab on to the killer’s racial motives and say that this is an example of the extreme racism prevalent within society. They will say that this is a more common problem and that this particular tragedy is just the latest example of it.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
These knee-jerk reactions don’t capture the problem though, and it is the problem we all have. We live in a world of darkness, of hate, of violence, of evil, and sin. But, the good news is for all of us, and that is that the brightest light is possible from the deepest darkness. It is in fact not only possible, for God uses evil for ultimate good.
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
2 he enters into peace
While it is tragic that people had to lose their lives, we should rest assured that they died at peace righteous and redeemed. What an evil men wrought God will turn into something beautiful – and I suspect that it will begin today, with love, not hate, politics, or legislation, in Charleston. From deepest darkness the light of Christ shines brightest.
Pray for those left behind, thank God for the grace that covers us all, and praise Jesus for reaching though time and gathering all sin to himself so that all men, women, and children of all ages and all nations are redeemed in the Father’s sight – even the man holding the gun the other night.