We live in a world filled with evil…

From school, movie theater and shopping mall spree killings, to local and national acts of terror, to the kidnappings, sexual assaults and murders of children, there is no escaping it.  No matter how hard we may try, whether it is in our own backyard or across the country, it is ever-present and unfortunately widely pervasive.  These crimes have no jurisdictional boundaries.  They happen in large cities and they happen in the smallest of sleepy little towns in the most rural of states.  Just when we think we’ve seen the worst of the worst, another monster wrapped in human skin does something that tops the last act of unfettered cruelty and malice.  I’ve given up trying to explain, much less understand these horrors and the people that perpetrate them.  Explanations like “it was just the act of an insane person” or “they just lost it somehow” or “how could someone do that in the name of a religion?” (insert whichever one you’d like here) always seem to come up a bit short when I try and wrap my mind around it.

anguish

Over the years, I’ve seen my share of misery and malevolence.  I was a cop for 25 years in a municipality just outside picturesque Camden, New Jersey.  Now, for those of you not familiar with Camden, it competes annually with Detroit and St. Louis as the most crime ridden cities in the nation.  Shootings, murders, sexual assaults, armed robberies and the like are everyday and commonplace occurrences in and around Camden City.  However, I’m not talking about city type crime for purposes of this essay, I’m referring to the type of crime that defies the ability of the human mind to fully comprehend it.  The type of crime that leaves you a bit shaken even if it happens a thousand miles away from you.  The type of crime that you feel compelled to discuss with a perfect stranger in the grocery store or at the coffee shop hoping that they may be the one person who has a plausible explanation for its occurrence.  Some will say it’s a sociological thing, some that it’s from a screwed up childhood and some will blame video games.  To me, it’s fairly basic and that is that one must take personal responsibility for their actions and stop displacing blame.  But, I digress and as I said, I’m done with even trying to have a modicum of understanding beyond the fact that evil is evil.  Period.

angry video game player

So, to my point…I have a real concern.  Not a concern for myself and my family (although I do greatly care about their welfare and safety during any given day).  No, I have a concern for the children of the future.  If at my age I am already becoming somewhat desensitized and detached from emotion when these things happen, (although it does still affect me in certain ways) I can’t imagine what the future looks like for a young person who’s life (I believe) is going to be filled with this type of evil much more than mine was.  I firmly believe it’s only going to get worse.  I’m concerned for my grandchildren (when they come) and I’m concerned for their children.  Scripture talks about these days being filled with all types of evil and it becoming more and more prevalent every day.   So, are these kids going to become so immune from feeling anything when these things happen because of their frequency that they dismiss it as just another news story, and then change the song on their ipod?  I don’t know, but I certainly hope not.  Once a complacent and uncaring attitude sets in, it can be extremely difficult to reverse it.

But, there is hope…

So, what can we do?  Well, we can pray of course.  But, we can also walk in the knowledge that God is our provision and our protection.  He is not only “in” control of everything, He also “has” control of everything.  So, for us to really grasp and comprehend these acts of evil, we have to fully understand that they’re not a surprise to the Lord.  He doesn’t sit upstairs and say “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that just happened!”.   The first thing one might say is “why would a supposedly merciful God allow such a thing?”  I don’t know.  But, what I do know is that the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are often times just that…mysteries.  Sometimes God reveals the answers and sometimes He doesn’t, (I know I’ll most likely “respectfully” have a few questions when I stand before Him).  That is why there are many times no plausible, visible explanations to abhorrent, random acts of violence and evil.  The reasons are only known to God.  And, He grieves too.  We can teach our children these truths at an early age which will allow them the ability to understand and process these things when they occur.   I know this may or may not make it easier to swallow or understand, but for me it keeps me grounded in the fact that The Father is in control…not us.  And, I really, really like it that way.  To be continued…

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