Weekly Devotional | April 12, 2018

Turning the Tide on American Violence

HOPE FOR TODAY by Clint Decker

Clint DeckerAre you becoming increasingly concerned about your child’s safety at school?  Has your church begun discussions on providing security during worship services? Have you had some uneasiness while at public gatherings, wondering if some incident might take place?  Unfortunately, this is where we are in American life right now. More and more people are having these concerns and rightly so when you see the news.

Our society is becoming more dangerous and I am not the first to ask, “What is the solution?” Let us start with identifying the problem.  The epidemic of violence is highlighted by cold blooded murders in our schools and inner cities. And it also involves the brutality of physical and sexual assaults in homes, on the streets, on campuses and in workplaces.

There is a place for new legislation, better enforcement of existing laws, awareness campaigns and task forces.  But they all have limits. They can help restrain violence and provide all kinds of data and resources for combating it.  However, none of it goes to the source.

What is the ultimate problem?  The human heart. The Scriptures say, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  (Jeremiah 17:9) It is where a person’s values, beliefs and standards lay. This is what gives them the justification to terrorize.  It is where they become a god unto themselves and exert power over others to destroy.

Only the presence of God in a human heart can give what our society is calling for.  But ironically, that is missing from the public debate. America has a chronic heart condition, and the more we stray from God, the more violent our nation will become.  It is truth and consequence.

To end the violence in our streets requires humbling ourselves before God and asking for His help.  We have tried it our way, let us try it His way.

Our world has never seen the horror of violence more than in the death of Jesus of Nazareth.  It was brutal. Yet, through it, a morally perfect man, took on Himself the evil that existed in every human heart.  He bore the sheer depravity of all mankind. And when He rose again from the dead, He overcame the darkness. Through it He became what every heart, every city longs for – peace.  Jesus Himself became our peace. In Him, a person of brutality can become one of tenderness. In Him, a monster can be changed into a beautiful and precious child of God.

A prayer for you to pray–Lord God, search my own heart.  Let the change in my city begin with me. Point out if I have hurt people physically or with my words.  I am sorry Lord for how I have treated others. Rid the evil within me. Forgive me for what I have done.  Make me into a kind and loving person by your power. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Clint Decker is President & Evangelist with Great Awakenings, Inc. Hope for Today is a syndicated column that appears online and in newspapers from North Dakota to Texas.  Contact him at cdecker@greatawakenings.org or call toll free at 877-433-3220.

 

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