Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Broken People

Broken people call His name
Helpless children praise the King
Nothing brings Him greater fame
When broken people call His name

Lift high, your chains undone
All rise, exalt the Son
Jesus Christ, the Holy One
We lift our eyes to You

Sinners all exalt the Son
Your ransom paid and freedom won
We will see His Kingdom Come
When sinners all exalt the Son

Lyrics to Lift High by Steve Fee

This song is really speaking to me today because we are truly a broken people.  Yesterday, a student at the Cypress, Texas campus of Lone Star College stabbed 14 people before he was taken down by other students.  He has now told police that he has fantasized about stabbing people since grade school. On December 14 of last year, a young man took the lives of so many children and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This was a person with a history of just not fitting in.  Every day, people molest children.  People destroy each other's lives for no reason other than to prove themselves to a gang or a group of friends.

We, as Americans, have long been proud of our independent spirit.  In fact, our favorite national holiday is Independence Day.  Many things about having a spirit of independence are good.  It is great to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  It is great that we don't feel the need to do what others are doing, especially when they are doing something we see as wrong.  However, we've badly mutated the concept of independence.  We've taken away the positive attributes of independence and replaced them with self-absorption and complacency about the needs of others.  

We don't believe in any standards, except those we set for ourselves.  We don't see the need to help our neighbors.  That is the job of the government or "someone else."  We don't look out for the poor and downtrodden.  And as an "independent" person, I certainly can't take my problems to anyone else.

If we have no one greater than ourselves, we have no one to whom we can turn when we have struggles.  If we think there is no right and no wrong, we lack a standard against which we can all be measured.  We don't want others bothering us about our lives, and we don't want to pester other people about their lives.  We don't want our imperfect neighbors to tell us what to do and how to live our lives.  We certainly don't want a perfect God telling us what is best for us.

The following is from Proverbs 1:
24 “Because I called and you refused,
stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
I don't think we are beyond hope.  I don't yet think that God is ready to "laugh at your calamity."  But, I do know that repercussions are happening because we have turned away from God's authority.  We have turned away from loving our neighbors as ourselves.  We have turned away from doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

The problem is not that we have guns, knives, cars or other possible objects of mayhem in the hands of the people.  The problem is that we are broken and refuse to admit it.  Until the collective "we" (not the government, but our communities) decide to be neighbors, we will never be healed of our brokenness.  Had the neighbors, family and friends of the young men in Cypress and Newtown been more involved in their lives, we might have avoided tragedy.  Had someone looked into their well-being (not as a duty, but out of love), those young men might have been made whole.

I am the chief of sinners in this regard.  It is no fun to ask someone how they're doing when you know the answer will be anything other than, "fine."  We need to get out of ourselves and love others.

Please join me in prayer for our collective brokenness.  Pray for individual and national healing.

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