|Charleston, South Carolina|
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. ~ Romans 12:15
I'm sure readers have, by now, been made aware of the tragedy at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. This type of thing is something that many Christians have thought about in recent years - for a whole host of reasons. While the vast majority of churches welcome strangers from all backgrounds, there is often a nagging (and unwelcome) fear of something like this happening. I've often struggled with the competing emotions of being very glad to see a newcomer in the church and the (more often than not) irrational fear that the person might mean harm.
I cannot fathom the horror and fear of something like this actually happening when a church should be the most peaceful and safest of all locations for families to gather, worship and pray. It is beyond horrible. This church, with trust and acceptance, lovingly opened its arms to a stranger and, in return, he murders 9 of its members. Words do not exist to adequately describe the evil of such an act.
Yet I cannot believe that this reflects the spirit and feelings that the vast majority of South Carolinians have toward African-Americans or any other group. As a matter of fact the state's junior senator, Tim Scott, is an African-American and hails from North Charleston. To make any sweeping and damning generalizations about this event and the people of South Carolina is, in my opinion, irresponsible.
As usual, there are those who will (and already have) use this tragedy to fan flames and to advance their own agenda and political *causes. All I will say about this tragedy is that I hope the guilty person pays the ultimate price for his crime. I believe he deserves the death penalty. I know I should respond like this Christian brother did but, for right now, that's difficult for me. I'm finding more satisfaction in these words:
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ~ Luke 17:2Beyond that, all I can do is think of the victims and their families, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and weep. May our God bring peace and comfort to your hearts during this time.
*I would suggest that if we're looking for a common theme or "cause" in these mass shootings, we look at the fact that a very high percentage of these shooters are on psychiatric drugs, which have been reported to be linked to violent behavior. Whatever other evil motives or hatred these individuals may have in their hearts (and all of them are different), one would think that these drugs (and the companies that manufacture them) would be garnering more attention.