This fall our nation was rocked once again by another mass shooting, this time at Oregon’s Umpqua College. While many well-intended citizens and opportunistic politicians are quick to call for increased gun control the issue at hand lies much deeper. Such killings are the result, not of permissive gun laws, but rather of a blatant disrespect for human life.
These, all too frequent, tragedies are heart wrenching, but they should come as no surprise when: in our public schools our children are taught that their existence is merely a result of a cosmic accident rather than intentional design.
The “Theory of Evolution” is in all actuality, a hypothesis even questioned by its originator, Darwin, who wondered at such developments as consciousness.1 Yet, while evolution is now taught as fact, Intelligent design – which may or may not include reference to the Biblical account of creation – is downplayed if not dismissed altogether.
In consideration of the Darwinian hypothesis, an existence brought about by a random chemical reaction is an existence without true meaning, while created life implies nothing less than life filled with purpose, value, and accountability. A life created is a life that is precious and important. Our founding fathers put it this way: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence) (emphasis added)
If humanity did truly evolve, then we have: no real purpose beyond our own carnal ambitions and desires, nothing worth living for but the moment, and no accountability to anyone beyond ourselves and a government made up of other equally purposeless beings. This is the message being sent to our young people in most educational institutions across our nation. Is it any wonder we live in a culture that seems to grow increasingly cynical and self absorbed?
Another story making the news throughout the summer and fall was the release of several undercover videos by the organization The Center for Medical Progress exposing the callousness, brutality, and blatant disregard for the most innocent of human life at the hands of Planned Parenthood.
Again, it should come as no surprise that a culture indoctrinated with messages of meaningless would easily come to a place where infanticide was not just justified but developed into an industry which grosses over $1.1 Billion annually.
Furthermore, it is no less surprising to then hear of the all too frequent reports of mass-murders such as the one at Umpqua College, where the victims we not randomly murdered but martyred for their faith. While many clamor for solutions, answers will not come about by changing the laws, but rather by changing hearts. We must begin to look past the government for solutions, and become seekers of Truth.
As Christians, we know that the only source of true and lasting hope comes through a relationship with Jesus. This is the hope that Blaise Pascal spoke of when he said; “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Knowing this truth, not just intellectually, but in the very fiber of our being, will give us, not just boldness but more importantly, compassion for the lost. Compassion tempers our words, purifies our motives, and strengthens our resolve.
When I think of true compassion I think of two people, the Reverend Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. In a world that is quick to criticize those who take a stand for Christ, I have never heard these two maligned, mocked, or disrespected in any way. Why? I would say, compassion. They found the hope of Christ and dedicated their lives to His service, sharing His transforming love and its accompanying hope through, not only their words but more importantly, their actions.
We may never serve the lepers in Calcutta, or travel the world to share the message of Jesus’ hope to packed stadiums, but we all have opportunities to extend compassion to someone in need. So how do we find the necessary compassion to share the hope that people are longing to hear? Professor and author Constance Cherry answers this question beautifully; “When worshipers commit to pursuing the priority, presence, and priestly role of Jesus Christ in worship, they will be transformed and infused with the same passion Christ has for the world. Biblical worship results in advancing the kingdom of God for the glory of God. True worship is a transforming event – and we are the transformed.”2
The Apostle Peter’s words also remind us that when we are living transformed lives people will notice…and ask. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV). In much the same way people will notice and ask about significant weight loss, so too will they ask about noticeable hope and sharing that hope should come no less natural.
The assurance that we know the True Source of hope should foster an attitude of compassionate assurance, and compelling motivation to make the most of each opportunity to “give an answer” as to the reason for our hope. The hope that will do what the law cannot (Romans 8:3), free hearts to live their true purpose.
- Smith, C. U. M. “Darwin’s Unsolved Problem: The Place Of Consciousness In An Evolutionary World.” Journal Of The History Of The Neurosciences2 (2010): 105-120. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
- Cherry, C. M. “The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services.” 30. Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010