Tragically, our nation’s attention has been gripped again this summer by two mass shootings. As victims’ families are still grieving, as investigators are still trying to figure out the motives, as lawmakers are searching for answers, and as citizens ask the question “why,” it is good for us to turn to the Scriptures to understand what is at the root of mass shootings.
Many have accurately described the shootings as pure evil. But where does this evil come from? Is there hope to combat this great sin and wickedness? Jesus tells us clearly in Matthew 15:16 where these things come from: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders . . .” At the root of every murder is a sinful heart. This is drastically different than mere mental illness. There is no pill or medicine that one can digest to change a sinful heart. Laws are good. Laws are necessary. Laws might even restrain some sinful behavior. But laws cannot change a sinful heart! God is the ultimate Law-giver and He commanded, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Yet even God’s law hasn’t prevented murder. When man’s laws or proposed laws neglect the root of the problem, they run the risk of making a bad situation worse.
Some would say that education or more counsel will prevent the next mass shooting. But again, the best counsel in the world cannot change a sinful heart. Consider the first human murder. It is recorded in Genesis 4. But just before Cain killed Abel, God Himself gave counsel to Cain: “So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’ Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” Some would argue that if we legislate the elimination of guns, then violence and murder would cease. But a brief look at history shows that even in a world without guns, violence and murder still abound. The account of human history continues in Genesis 6 noting that the wickedness and violence of mankind grew in abundance (Genesis 6:5, 13). Violence and murder abounded and this was before the days of guns. The reason was the sinful heart of mankind; “every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.”
So if the root of the problem is a sinful heart and if medicine, laws, education and even the elimination of guns can’t change a sinful heart, is there any hope? The answer is a resounding yes! The Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, came to deliver us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4) as He died for our sins, was buried and rose again. It is Jesus Christ alone that can change our sinful hearts! Some might be thinking, “Well I’m not a mass murderer because I’ve never killed anyone.” Jesus said that if you have been angry with your brother with-out a cause or if you know your brother has some-thing against you and you refuse to make it right, then you already are guilty of the command, “you shall not murder” (Matthew 5:21-26). The Apostle John wrote, “whoever hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). Before mankind sinned, there was no death, there was no murder. But when mankind sinned and join in the rebellion with Satan, the murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), we all stood in need of a Savior. All of us have needed our sinful hearts to be changed. And only through Christ can one become a new creation (1 Corinthians 5:17).
God’s law is necessary because it is a tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). What has our nation done with God’s laws? When did the 10 commandments cease being a part of the required school curriculum? God’s law is designed to reveal our sinful hearts and show us our need of Christ and what he did for us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But again, we no longer promote that as a nation. Christmas break is now winter break. Good Friday and the Resurrection of Christ is now Spring break. Christian, our mission is to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. These national tragedies provide a logical reason to proclaim this message, because Jesus is the only one who addresses the root cause of the mass shootings.