The Wolf We Feed
Had a bunch of folks check in this morning after the shooting in Vegas. Thank you, truly, for caring. Some of the conversations were very similar among my friends who never served in the military. I heard a great deal of sadness, confusion and questioning. My friend Jen summed it up saying remorsefully she doesn’t get it. Why would someone do this?
I have never pretended to be a spiritual advisor or biblical resource expert. But i can answer this question with certainty and authority. So to those who are asking in sadness how such a thing can happen, I offer my humble words that they may help spark a conversation. They are written with much empathy and care. So i hope you hear them as such.
When something maddening and violently tragic happens like last night, where lives are lost, its ok that we don’t get it nor understand. This is because what has happened has happened in a different plane of reality. It is a reality that doesn’t belong in our day to day. Its not supposed to be here and not part of our normal. Unfortunately, this is the reality where evil operates in the world. So when it shows up, it is shocking and unexpected. Its why we use words like senseless, pointless, cowardice and we scream to God for the why. How could this happen?
I am well aware of the dark side that exists in this world. For those of us who have lived in that reality even for a moment, we are seldom surprised when evil attacks. We recognize it immediately for what it is. We have a saying downrange for it. “The enemy gets a vote.”
In the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul encourages us to put on the full armor of God and warns us to stay vigilant. This is because he knew there is a very real war going on out there. Both sides are fighting for our very soul. Its like the parable of the two wolves inside us. One is Good. Courageous, brave and compassionate.
The other is full of hate, fear anger and complacency. Which wolf will win?
The one we feed.
We watch the images of an active shooter gun down a crowd of people and we feel helpless. Helpless is an awful feeling. We struggle with it. What can i do about that? What would i have done if it had been me and my wife? Or God forbid, my kids who were there in that crowd? We want to do something but like a roadside bomb, the damage is done and there’s nothing we can do about it now.
But what if I told you there IS something each one of us can do right now? What if instead of looking for someone else to do something about it, we all began to take responsibility for the state of the world we live in. Our homes. Our neighborhoods. Our churches. Our schools, communities and governments. It might require we ask ourselves some honest questions like, Am i being part of the solution? What kind of person do I want to become ? Who can I be, in this moment? Am i a person who positively affects the people on my left and right? If we asked ourselves these questions and committed to the hard work of becoming such a citizen, What would that look like for you? What would it sound like for you? What would it feel like for you? And what would it mean to the world?
We make a name for ourselves by the way we treat people while here on earth, this side of heaven. Who are you leading? Who are you following? What example are you setting? There is always an opportunity and Its never too late to do the right thing my friends. You can beat the addiction. You can turn your marriage around. You can make a difference in your kid’s life. We have no idea what impact our random act of kindness has had. But rest assured it has impacted someone. Could one act of kindness, a better parent or a more concerned friend possibly have veered that shooter on to another course in life?
No matter how hopeless and dark it may feel right now, I promise you there is still hope. In the midst of the rubble, God is there like water in the cracks. He is always ready to lift us out of our sorrow and heal us from our wounds. And he will use each of us to do his work if we are willing. Do you remember how the country came together after 911?. Did you see how strangers helped neighbors as Houston flooded? Just as these stories of compassion and heroism unfolded, so shall the good of Vegas be revealed. I tell you the truth, in every situation, when lives are on the line, there are no Republicans. There are no Democrats. There are no liberals. There are just humans taking care of each other.
Evil Will show up. The enemy gets a vote. Always has. Always will. So lets out-vote him. I believe, because I have seen firsthand, that good is exponentially better and will always prevail. Good is exponentially better and God’s love is infinite.
So starting with me right now on this hard and sad morning, 2 Oct. 17 I will start each day by asking myself
What kind of man am I being for those around me? Am i being a person to help good prevail? Am I feeding the right wolf?
God be with the families who will forever feel the pain of this loss. God heal those who are wounded both physically and spiritually by this day. God bless you for the gift you are and the good you will create. And may God bless America