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Evil Can Occur During Church
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me”
(Romans 7:21 NIV).
I am angry about the continued shootings at our churches. Our churches are God’s house on earth. Psalm 46:1 teaches us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). I think we can substitute “church” for “God” in the scripture. As Christians we seek out His refuge and strength, particularly on Sunday mornings as we gather with the Body of Christ. This is a special, holy, sacred time. It should also be a safe time.
I understand that since the beginning “sin has been crouching at our doors” (Genesis 4:7). The Psalmist later wrote, “…Their evil imaginations have no limits (Psalm 73:7).
I stand on the words of Paul in Romans 12:9, and “hate what is evil and cling to what is good.” I hate church shootings (and school shootings, mass shootings, and all shootings). These attacks are pure evil and cowardly. A strong church (and strong families) are the greatest threat to the enemy and attacks on both are evidence that the both pose a serious threat to his plan.
So, “I cling to what is good.” I pray blessings for all those impacted in all shootings, including the victims, the entire congregation, family and friends of victims, and the pastor. I know that I am also called to pray for the shooter. We are taught in 1 Peter 3:9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” On my own, I simply cannot pray for the shooters, but “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). So, with His help, I pray for the shooters too. They have sinned, but so have I.
All sin is detestable to God. The late Rev. Billy Graham was asked if all sins are equal in God’s eyes. His response follows. “It is always difficult and dangerous to attempt to list sins according to their degree of seriousness. In one sense, all sins are equal in that they all separate us from God. The Bible’s statement, “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23), applies to all sin, whether in thought, word, or deed.
At the same time, it seems obvious that some sins are worse than others in both motivation and effects, and should be judged accordingly. Stealing a loaf of bread is vastly different than exterminating a million people. Sins may also differ at their root.
However, remember that whether our sins are relatively small or great, they will place us in hell apart from God’s grace. The good news is that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and the sins of the whole world at the Cross. If we will repent and turn to Jesus in faith, our sins will be forgiven, and we will receive the gift of eternal life.”
My church is now making plans for an active shooter situation. I am saddened that time and resources that could be spent on evangelism and missions are being spent on this, but I know it is necessary. Please pray for our churches. It really is important.
Prayer: Dear God, Please protect us at church and everywhere we go. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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