Written by Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
Matthew 10:28 (NKJV): “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Given the increasing numbers of mass killings reported through the media, the Lord through the Holy Spirit has given me this blog to write. The first point I feel led to make is that guns, knives, cars, or other similar inanimate objects on their own cannot kill. These inanimate objects can be used for either good or for bad purposes. Take guns, for example. They can be used for self-protection or to shoot wild game to provide nourishment to our bodies. Given all the positive ways guns are used in society, the benefits of guns seem to me to outweigh the negative factors. Besides, if someone wants to kill someone, they don’t need a gun to do it.
When guns are not available to criminals, often criminals will turn to knives as their tool of choice to kill someone. This is exemplified in England where some of the toughest gun laws in the world exist. According to research (Dewan & Tarabay, 2017; Petkar, 2018; Travis, 2018 ) stabbing deaths are higher than ever in England, especially in London.
On another front, consider the recent Toronto van attack. Did the van kill the victims? No, it was the driver of the van who has been charged with first degree murder. Again, I say, inanimate objects, such as guns; knives; cars or whatever, cannot and do not kill human beings. Inanimate objects are not the killer, but are the tools used by the killer. Human beings kill human beings, regardless of the tool/weapon of choice. Why, a lot of inanimate objects could be used to kill a person. For example, a child gets mad at a playmate, and picks up a big rock to hit the other child in the head that results in the death of the victim. Another example could be a wife who gets mad at her husband and uses an iron skillet to hit him in the head, killing him. Sure, the intent of the child or wife may not have been premeditated murder; but just the same, death was the outcome.
Given the above explanation, I support the rights of responsible citizens of the USA to own guns. Note I emphasized the word “responsible“. By that I believe gun laws should be strict where the mentally ill and criminals should NOT have the right to bear arms. I also believe the age limit to purchase guns should be 21 years of age. No offense intended to the teenage son or daughter of a gun sportsman who wants to teach his child(ren) how to handle guns safely. I think if a father wants to teach his children how to shoot and handle a gun, that should be his decision to make. However, if any child under 21 years old uses his parent’s guns to commit an illegal act, the parent too should bear the responsibility. Parents need to keep their guns locked up and in a secure area of the home where the child is not given regular access. I hope parents get my point.
The Original Sources of Mass Killings
Mark 7:21-22 (NKJV): “21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV): “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.“
What are the original sources of mass killings? Gleaned from Mark 7:21-22 and Ephesians 6:12, I would answer that question by saying that an evil heart and/or Satan and his demons are the root causes of mass killings.
An Evil Heart
Personally, I think the biggest cause of mass shootings is because the shooter has an evil, “callous heart” (See Psalm 73:7, NIV). How can we as Christians identify an individual with an evil heart? Vernick (2018) lists five indicators of a person with an evil heart:
1. Evil hearts create confusion and dissension.
2. Evil hearts know how to fool others.
3. Evil hearts want and seek control. Their highest authority is self.
4. Evil hearts require mercy but offer none themselves.
5. Evil hearts delight in sin having a seared conscience.
Our Ultimate Enemy, Satan
In Matthew 16: 21-23 when Peter questioned Jesus’ plan to go back to Jerusalem where He knew the Jewish leaders planned to kill Him,
Jesus did not rebuke Peter, but turned to Peter and rebuked Satan. “Get behind me Satan” (Matt. 16:23). Peter wasn’t demon possessed, and probably didn’t intend to be an offense. However, the Devil inspired Peter’s statement, and Jesus went after the real source.
Paul said that our battle is not with “flesh and blood” but with spiritual adversaries (Eph. 6:12). How important it is that we understand what the real root of the problem is — “who” our real enemy is. It is Satan, not flesh and blood, not our brethren, not our family, not our children, not husbands and wives, not employers, nor our government! The Devil is the enemy! (Robbins, 1990-2017, Getting to the Root of the Problem section, ¶s 3-4). [Excerpted from Food as an Idol: Finding Freedom from Disordered Eating (ABC’s Ministries, 2017, p. 103)]
The Solution to Mass Killings
Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV): “Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.”
James 4:7-10 (NKJV): “7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
The Role of the Individual
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV): “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
When that Day of Judgment comes, there will be no excuses for the evil works we have done. We can’t blame our parents, peers, or anyone else. Even Satan, as our ultimate enemy, cannot be blamed. We alone will be responsible for how we have lived our lives. This is based upon the truth that humans have freewill to accept or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord. Revelations 3:20 (NKJV) tells us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” This verse reminds me of the following visualization that someone had of Christ knocking on an individual’s heart.
Of course, no one really knows what Jesus looked like; but, I believe the picture gets the point across. Notice that Christ is knocking on the door, representative of an individual’s heart. What you don’t see is a doorknob because we have to open our heart to allow God to come into our heart. If we don’t accept Him, He won’t force Himself on us.
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV): And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Once you have experienced God’s saving grace, don’t let your guard down when it comes to Satan though. Rev. Billy Graham (2017) wrote,
just because you have given your life to Jesus doesn’t mean you’ll never be tempted to do wrong—because you will.
In fact, we may face even stronger temptations once we give our lives to Christ —because Satan will do everything he can to discourage us and cause us to doubt our salvation. Remember: Satan’s chief goal is to attack God in every way he possibly can—and one way he does that is by tempting believers to sin or become discouraged. He never gives up the fight! If he tried to tempt Jesus, you can be sure he’ll try to tempt you. But never forget: Satan is a defeated foe, and if we belong to Christ, we are on the winning side. (¶s 2-3)
How can Christians find victory over the temptations thrown in our path by Satan? The answer to that question is by putting on the Armor of God (See Ephesians 6:10-20.). That’s another blog though, and won’t be discussed here. Just remember,
1 Corinthians 10:13-33 (NKJV): No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
The Role of Parents/Caretakers
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV): “Train up a child in the way he should go, . . . .”
In the context of Proverbs 22:6 to “train” would imply the following definition given by dictionary.com: “to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction: to train an unruly boy.” For Christian parents and caregivers, I would recommend that habits, thoughts, and behaviors taught to children be healthy, functional, and based on Scripture.
A number of ways exist that parents can teach and model a wholesome, Christian worldview to children. Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:18-20) reflects a number of these ways. Based on the aforementioned Scripture and my own experience, I encourage the following:
- Know what the Bible says about how to live a Christ-centered life.
- Have family Bible studies at an age appropriate level with your children.
- Reflect Christ in your conversation and lifestyle.
- Decorate your home in a way that reflects and edifies Christ.
- Display The Ten Commandments in a central location of your home.
- Monitor your children’s behaviors and friends.
- Discipline children appropriately.
- Keep evil, violent materials, and other negative influences out of the home and away from children as much as possible.
The Role of Society
Psalm 33:12 (NKJV): “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, . . . “
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV): “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.”
Legislators at all government levels, law enforcement officials, schools, and churches all play a role in helping children learn and develop Christ-centered lives. I listed legislators and law enforcement officials first because they are the ones who must create and enforce laws that enable schools and churches to be the most influential as possible at turning children into moral and responsible citizens in the nation. Legislators and law enforcement officials need to create and enforce laws that give parents, schools, and churches the right to include Christian teachings as they mold children to become responsible citizens in society. America was founded on Biblical principles, and I urge President Trump, Congress, State Legislators, etc. to do whatever is needed to stop the religious persecution of Christians. I also implore them to allow schools to put God, prayer, and the paddle back in schools. Parents too should not get into trouble for disciplining a child with a healthy spanking, which is biblical, according to the following Scripture:
Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV): “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
On the other hand, I would be the first to advocate reporting, testifying against, and punishing parents who allow healthy spankings to turn into unhealthy beatings where the child is left with physical marks on the body. Child abuse and neglect laws need to be tougher and enforced with no exceptions.
Schools and churches reinforce the attitudes, behaviors, and values that parents and other caretakers have taught children in the earliest developmental stages of life. These attitudes, behaviors, and values taught are exemplified as self-respect, respect for peers, respect for others, honesty, sharing, being responsible, and so many other positive character attributes that are not being taught or modeled by many parents in today’s society.
In summary, the only sure fire way to stop, or at least minimize mass killings around the world is with a worldwide revival. That revival must begin with each of us, Christians. Parents, schools, churches, and society overall needs to advocate for and reflect positive Christian values as much as possible to children while simultaneously shielding children from the evils of Satan, such as hatred, greed, violence, prejudice, etc. Only then will mass killings become less rampant in society.
Graham, Rev. Billy (2017). Answers. Topics: Temptations. Retrieved April 26, 2018 from https://billygraham.org/answer/why-are-my-temptations-stronger-now-that-im-a-christian/
Orgeron (aka, Owens), P. K. (2017). Food as an idol: Finding freedom from disordered eating. Nashville, TN: ABC’s Ministries. Available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Food-Idol-Finding-Freedom-Disordered/dp/0997956534
Robbins, D. A. (1990-2017). Breaking spiritual strongholds. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from http://victorious.org/pub/breaking-strongholds-141
Vernick, L. (2018). 5 Indicators of an evil and wicked heart. Retrieved May 26, 2018 from https://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/association-of-biblical-counselors/5-indicators-of-an-evil-and-wicked-heart.html