Sniper in Dallas: When Will the Violence End?
After the deadliest day for law officers since Sept. 11, 2001, Dallas and America wonder what’s next. Is there hope for an end of violence?
What is happening in America—or in the world, for that matter?
This year is already developing into a year of tragedy, and on July 7 the worst killing of police officers since 9/11 (almost 15 years ago) took place in Dallas, Texas, just a few miles from our Allen office. The reaction here in Dallas is one of shock, accompanied by deep sadness for the families of those who lost loved ones. “Our hearts are broken” is commonly heard throughout the Dallas area.
In the days preceding, police officers shot and killed two young African-American men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and near Minneapolis, Minnesota, touching off protests around the country. Chicago, Illinois, is gaining a worldwide reputation as a killing zone, with an average of 15 people shot and two killed every day in the month of June. Much of the violence is gang-related, but even more tragic, many of the victims are simply innocent bystanders, sometimes children. Our hearts go out to the victims of these senseless tragedies and their families.
Epidemic of violence
Details in all of these situations are unfolding, but one thing is clear—violence in our country has become the norm, reaching epidemic proportions.
Today we weep for those who have died violent deaths this past week. We sense the sadness especially here in the Dallas area, where it has hit close to home. Five police officers dead and seven more wounded. Who would carry out such a deed! We often hear such individuals described as “deranged,” only to discover after the fact they are like the people next door. They’re seemingly ordinary men and women who go to work each day, but deep inside bitterness and hatred are boiling.
Senseless violence has always existed, of course, but there is no denying that an evil and angry spirit is loose in the world. While people want to deny Satan’s existence, evidence of his influence can be seen everywhere.
As in the days of Noah
The Bible describes a time when violence covered the earth in the days prior to the Flood. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. … The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:5, 11).
Three words are used to describe the world of that day—corrupt, evil and violent. The same three words aptly describe our world today. If God destroyed the pre-Flood world because of the corruption, evil and violence, where is our world headed today?
It seems that since Cain killed his brother Abel, mankind has resorted to violence as an answer to his problems. Whether it is in war or violence in the streets of our cities, we cannot deny that whole generations of people, and primarily young people, have been lost to violence. How many brilliant careers, families and precious lives have been destroyed by the senseless killings that go on each and every day in our world? America has been referred to as the bright “city on a hill,” an example to the rest of the world. But it cannot be denied that today America is leading the way when it comes to violence. We wring our hands over the lack of justice, and we kill each other at an alarming rate.
Individually, we all have a responsibility, especially those who profess Christianity. Jesus Christ spoke about violence, and His answer wasn’t more violence—fighting fire with fire—but His answer dumbfounded the people of His day and even more so the people of our day. Christ commanded His servants not to fight, not to kill, not to promote violence.
You might say, “But that doesn’t work!” Yes, you are right; that approach will not stop the violence in our world today. Mankind has gone too far down the path of corruption, evil and violence for there to be an easy solution. The pent-up emotions, the anger, the resentment, the lack of justice, the corruption in government all go together to produce a boiling teapot that is about to explode.
So, is it hopeless? Should we simply give up? No, that is certainly not the answer.Our only hope
So, is it hopeless? Should we simply give up? No, that is certainly not the answer. There is a day coming when this will be resolved, but it cannot be done without the return of Jesus Christ. During the time before the Flood, there was no human solution. Mankind had become so evil, so corrupt and so violent there was no turning back. Jesus Christ described the end of this age in the same language. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).
But in His same message in Matthew 24, Christ prophesied that He would return and intervene in world affairs, not to destroy mankind, but to prevent humanity from destroying itself (verse 22). When Christ comes for the second time, He will return to save this world (Hebrews 9:28). First He will intervene and prevent mankind from destroying all life, and then He will begin the reconstruction of the world—a world without violence.
A call to repent
The message of hope is found in the gospel, the good news. Christ spoke about His coming Kingdom, but He also gave a clear statement to those who heard His message. He said “repent” (Mark 1:15). What a novel idea! Change YOUR life! Reject the evil, corruption and violence of the world around us. Become the person God intended you to be—one led by His Spirit. Live the life of a Christian. Make sure you are that “light” to the world (Matthew 5:14-16).
It is time to get serious about your Christianity, your life and your relationship with God. The time for complacency has now passed. The apostle Paul admonished Christians to “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
Isaiah 60:18 describes the future world after Christ returns: “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.” Only when the world turns to God for the answers and rejects the spirit of hatred and violence will these problems be solved.
In the meantime, we weep with those who suffered loss in the past few days, and we groan for the lack of justice throughout the world. We pray for the soon coming of Jesus Christ. We pray for the leaders in our country and the world. And we pray for each other, that God will protect us from the evil one and the violence that covers the earth. May God have mercy on us all!