I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on the tragedy of the Colorado shooting. One verse that has kept coming to mind is Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I’m not going to dignify the shooter by using his name—I’ll just use the initials jh. The premeditated acts of jh are as old as the first murder committed by Cain. This son of Adam and Eve was angry at God and jealous of his brother Abel, so he killed him.
As I said in church yesterday, I am capable of committing the same transgressions perpetrated by jh. Given the right circumstances and faulty reasoning, I have the same sinful potential. Whether you will admit it or not, so do you.
It is doubtful that I or you will ever commit the act of murder; it is very likely, however, that we will be tempted to stray from the straight and narrow. Like Odysseus, we need to take the necessary steps to resist the Siren’s call of temptation.
According to Paul, we do this by taking our thoughts into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). When the first murderous thought entered the mind of jh, he should have taken it captive. Instead, he dwelled on it until it became an obsession that became an act.
The lesson is this: If we do not exercise the discipline of taking our thoughts captive, we will be captivated by our thoughts. Either we control our thoughts and emotions or they control us.
I challenge you to keep a diary for the next week. Every time you are aware of a new thought or some mental message that is floating around inside of your head, write it down. I think you will be surprised at the frequency of the thoughts and the way they influence your life.
By all accounts jh was a brilliant person. The flaw in his life was that he had the power of knowledge, but he lacked the freedom of the truth. This freedom is found in Jesus, and He said: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
In his letter to Timothy, Paul warned of people who were always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Without truth we are susceptible to the passions that reside within us, and gullible to the chicanery of the world.
Perhaps an old Chinese proverb will be enough to keep you thinking: Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness.
Enough said about jh and his deeds. The focus now needs to be JC and His healing.