Getting to the Heart of America’s Violence Problem in the Wake of El Paso, Dayton Shootings

More people died over the weekend as crazed murderers took to the streets with evil plans. And they were successful.

The United States of America is under attack. Those of us who were alive and remember September 11, 2001, know what being under attack feels like. Foreign terrorists carried out a well planned plot to bring death, destruction and fear to American soil. I hoped I would never see anything like that again. Sadly, our nation continues to face mass shootings over and over and over again by domestic terrorists and evildoers. Now, they seem to be happening at an even faster pace than ever before. Just like 9/11, we mourn for the victims and their families. Our hearts are broken at the tragedies.

Gun Laws

We’re hearing calls for more gun control—even a total ban of personal guns in the United States. But is that the best answer? Is it worth amending the Constitution to remove the right to bear arms? While we can debate gun control issues (and some stronger laws may be required), I believe the problem is much deeper than our gun laws.

Americans Hate One Another

America has a hate problem. While we can try to tell ourselves it’s getting better (“at least it’s not as bad as it was 50 or 60 years ago”), but in reality, hatred abounds. While I can’t think of anyone I know who would even come close to condoning or carrying out a mass shooting because of race, religion, beliefs, lifestyle, or any other factor, this has obviously been a motive for some of these incidents, and it’s certainly been a motive behind some of the horrible rhetoric spewed out across our country in recent years. Many of our nation’s forefathers worked to found our nation on God—and thank God for it! But the United States has a dark, long lasting blot of racism that has permeated our society from the very beginning, and there is plenty of hate to go around.

How to Get Rid of Hate and Violence

Despite racism’s stain on our country, I believe the problem is much deeper than that. I believe that America needs revival. America needs to be revived in a way that only God can do. Americans need to want revival, to pray for revival, to seek revival. In the words of my pastor, many of us need to be “vived” instead of “revived” because many have never experienced the life changing salvation that Jesus Christ offers.

Without God in our lives, both individually and corporately, the prince of the world, Satan, “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1. Peter 5:8). So, how do we avoid falling trap to the devil’s schemes? That question is answered in the very next verse: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

God is waiting with open arms for you to seek Him, to repent of your sin and ask Him for wisdom and guidance in every situation you face. James 4:9 says “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Isaiah 55:6-9 says “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”

Many Christ-followers will say they want revival. They pray for revival. They long for better days when such rampant evil is kept at bay. And that’s good! But that’s not enough! As I look at myself, I must ask “am I seeking forgiveness?” “Am I living in a way that welcomes the Holy Spirit into my life, into my thoughts, into my actions?”

What about you? Before you say “those people need Jesus,” do you have Him?

Yes, America desperately needs revival. Yes, Americans need Jesus! Yes, if we truly seek Him, we will find Him. And yes—if those things happen, these kinds of horrific events will happen less often.

Will limiting access to guns help prevent such tragedies? Maybe. But changing our gun laws won’t be enough to change hearts. Only God through his Son Jesus Christ can do that. Let’s pray for America, and at the same time, repent of our own wrongdoings and shortcomings, while asking God to revive ourselves.

Related Content

For more on revival, watch the sermon below from Pastor Larry Harmon, given on August 4, 2019. The sermon starts at the 35-minute mark.

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