The news channels were reporting a shooting in Dallas resulting in five police officers killed and seven wounded, along with two civilians.
My father had taken Abigail, Samuel and I on a quick trip to Florida to deliver a dog to the airport in Miami for a previous customer. We were having a lovely trip and had just finished a wonderful afternoon at the beach hanging out with friends. And then my blood ran cold by the news that met my eyes.
I laid there in my bed late that night … and the word “why” kept running through my head. Those police officers were doing their job …. PROTECTING people. Why were their lives taken in such a brutal, heartless attack?
The attack was planned for revenge because a white police officer shot a black man. I have heard over and over again …. “Black lives matter!” You know what … I completely agree! Black lives do matter … I love black people! But 2 Corinthians 5:16 says,
… henceforth know we no man after the flesh:
Sadly, I fear the man behind that gun that took so many lives, did not know that verse. Micah Johnson had anger … or should I say severe, cold, harsh hate issues. He wanted revenge and carried it out by murdering police officers.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:29-30
Micah would not have committed such a horrible crime if he had been a Believer and known those verses above. But he was not the first or the last one whose hands shed blood that same week. Gavin Long shot six police officers (three of whom were killed) in Baton Rouge. There was also the terror attack in France, where eighty-four people were killed and over one hundred wounded.
Our hearts are grieved at the pain that is being experienced by the families and friends of those fallen victims. But it is even more appalling that we live in a sinful nation where people couldn’t care less for their fellow man. Wickedness abounds … hatred causes devastation.
Recently my family attended an event that was being held at a nearby church. During the event, the Pastor shared with everyone the crucial need for salvation. He explained that he stood in a courtroom faced with murder charges, at the age of seventeen years old. He did not know what was going to happen to him. No one had ever reached out and shared the love of Yeshua with him until one day, when he was sitting in his cell, a Pastor came and shared with him what redemption could do if he surrendered and gave his life to Yeshua. That young man made that choice and his life was changed forever. He was redeemed and saved by Yeshua’s amazing grace! He had love for people, instead of hate. And now, 40+ years later, he is a Pastor who reaches out to share that same hope that once was shared with him.
As I sat there listening to him speak, I had goosebumps. What a powerful testimony of what He can do in someone’s life! I am reminded of Saul who persecuted and imprisoned Believers. He was struck with blindness so that his eyes could be opened to the glorious Light! His life would never be the same.
Whenever I think of people who are “in the ditch”, I remember Genesis 1:27,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;
Each person is made in His image, whether black, white or any shade in between. He has fearfully and wonderfully knit them together in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14). We live in a world surrounded with sin but there is hope! No matter how messed up a person’s life is … no matter how much hate is in their heart or how many crimes they have committed … there is forgiveness and salvation in Yeshua. It is not the individual person that is wicked; it is the spirit that is inside them. The Father longs for these lost souls …
… I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. – Luke 15:7
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. – John 3:17
It is easy to point out the sin of people who do dreadfully wrong things, but what about ourselves? I want to bring this a little closer to home for us who are called by His name. Romans 3:10, 23 says,
There is none righteous, no, not one …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Just because we’ve never murdered someone does not necessarily mean we’re okay! Even as a Believer, we can stumble and fall in different ways. Every day we have the choice to glorify YHWH, or to glorify Satan in our words and deeds.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45b
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. – Matthew 12:37
These verses also come to mind …
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. – Matthew 5:21-22a
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. – 1 John 4:20-21
Let us live our lives for His glory and let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in His sight. Remember that when we stumble, we can pick ourselves up again, ask for forgiveness and keep on walking. And let us never turn our backs and walk on the other side of the road when we see someone else in the ditch. We have all been in the ditch at one point or another and He died for them just as much as for us.
We are not always given the chance to be a proactive, positive influence in someone’s life. But we can always shine His light and PRAY for for those around us. That is something I particularly like doing when I am out shopping. You don’t know what is going on in people’s lives, but I can only imagine that a prayer might do them a little good. Who knows, maybe no one else is praying for them? Prayer is so powerful and your prayer might draw them closer to the throne of grace and change their life forever.
A quick note about our police officers: friends, they have a really tough job. They see the worst side of people and often have to deal with some really ugly stuff. A lot of people hate them. I know that there are a lot of corrupt officers too but they are not all corrupt. There are a lot of good guys trying to uphold the law to the best of their ability so that you can live in peaceful and safe environment.
Respect the police, support them and, most of all, pray for them. Don’t expect them to be perfect, because the truth is, we’re not either! Sometimes they make mistakes, just like us! Try to think the best of these guys and consider what they might be going through in their lives. They may have just come from a horrible accident. They might have just lived through a narrow escape. Think of what it would be like to deal with criminals daily. And who knows what might be going on in their homes with their family and friends. So many police aren’t even Believers and they don’t know how to carry their burdens to His feet. They don’t realize that perfect peace and rest come from Him alone and that He will renew their strengthen. Let’s fight together in prayer for them.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14, 16
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14