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home : religion : religion November 24, 2017

10/8/2017 12:11:00 AM
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

The massacre in Las Vegas this week was proof that humanity is broken. How could this happen? Why would anyone slaughter innocent people at a country music festival? This man had lived a quiet life. He had been a law abiding, tax-paying citizen who was enjoying the good life of retirement. By the world’s standards he was a success, but he was spiritually bankrupt and broken.  

 I am getting used to waking up to catastrophes like this on the news, and my heart breaks when I think about my three grandsons. One day they will learn what kind of world we live in, and I want to cry for their loss of innocence when that day comes.  One day they will learn about war, injustice, and the evil that lurks in the heart of man. They will ask “Nana - If God is real and God is good, how can things like this happen?” I will have to explain the bad news that humanity is broken, but the good news is that we have a Savior to help us be unbroken. 

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In Romans 7:15-25 Paul says “15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.(A) 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.(B) 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.(C) 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a](D) For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.(E) 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.(F)

21 So I find this law at work:(G) Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being(H) I delight in God’s law;(I) 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war(J) against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin(K) at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?(L) 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!(M)

The Las Vegas shooter killed himself and left no message, so we will never know what was in his mind. I have tried to imagine the evil force that drove him, and his inward struggle to resist it. A man who had never broken the law became a mass murderer overnight. This level of evil is incomprehensible. We cannot understand it. All we can do is pray and ask God to help us.

What we can understand is that we all struggle with sin and evil forces that drive us to do wrong even when we want to do right. We cannot save ourselves. Humanity is broken, but God sent his son Jesus so that we can be unbroken. This is our only hope.  

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church 

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