By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
Many of us were stunned by the attacks of ISIS in Paris, France. What caused eight young men to kill at least 129 people, and to seriously wound more that 300? What was the purpose? Why would that group spend many weeks planning violence, equip themselves, and then blow themselves up to destroy hundreds? What we see in this terrible event in France is what we see to a lesser degree in our own country! How many murders? How many occasions when scores of people are slaughtered with automatic rifles? In our own country, fathers, mothers, children, killing their own kin. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, later their son Cain murdered his brother Abel. Human beings have been killing one another ever since.
A factor that we may be reluctant to recognize is that we contend with evil every day, and not infrequently we hear or read or see the meanness that human beings are capable of. When Satan rebelled against God, with his angels, he was cast down to Earth. He is still with us. It appears to be his pleasure to temp us, to stir up strife among us, and to lead us toward wickedness which may lead to deceit, stealing, embezzlement, selfishness, and cruelty.
Our God who created the heavens and Earth and all of life is absolutely good, and he desires goodness for us. When we go astray and worship other gods we end up immersed in evil. We learn goodness from God. We learn righteousness, justice, and truth from God. Without him we are lost! Human beings are inclined to rebel and disobey God. It is in the Bible that we find out how we ought to live, and it is in Jesus Christ that we see goodness exemplified. Because he is aware of our sins, he went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, taking our judgment upon himself. If we believe in him, he forgives us and helps us learn how to live.
God gave us the Ten Commandments, plus many teachings to keep us in order. He gives us Bibles, he establishes the church, he gives us teachers and leaders to help us. He exalts justice and righteousness and truth, that we might have good lives. We depart from him or ignore him at our peril. Without him, we will eventually destroy ourselves. With him we can be happy and joyful a good deal of the time in this life and forever in the life to come.
What we are to do is explained to us in the Bible. For example, Ephesians 6:10-13, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand.”
What can we do? Believe in Jesus and stay close to him. Follow his teachings, and teach and encourage others. Honor our Lord in your speech, and live in such a way that you become an encouragement to others.