What Happened?

It was sad to learn as we were leaving church services Sunday, that a masked gunman had entered a Church of Christ building in Tennessee, and shot several people. He fatally shot one in the parking lot, and thank God, no one else died of the other six who were shot. According to the account I read, an usher confronted the man and in a struggle, the gunman was wounded. Apparently, that same usher also retrieved a gun from his vehicle and at some point the incident ended. Who would have ever thought church services in America would be something to worry about in this way? This is not the first such episode in our nation involving church-goers either.

Christians, we are under attack, physically in these rare instances, but continuously from a moral and spiritual aspect.

From the moral aspect, immorality has smashed the faith of many a Christian. This generation is really good at the art of deception, and what was viewed as evil 20-30 years ago by an overwhelming majority has become the norm, and in the eyes of some, to include harming or even killing innocent people simply because we believe differently. What happened to make evil acceptable? What we consider living a moral life is viewed as hate speech by the world. We practice God's moral standards, not because we hate anyone, but because we love God. What happened to cause our nation to stray so far off the path of Biblical morality?

From a spiritual standpoint, most of our society stands in opposition to most of what we believe. While they scream free speech and tolerance, they don't want that for us. For some reason, we are different. We are the hated enemy. What happened that causes the world to view the peacemakers as the enemy?

Materialism has also replaced the spot people used to hold open for God. Satan has, one dollar at a time, filled men's hearts with the desire for stuff. In the process, one little piece at a time, God has been moved aside. People still want to claim Him, but many only because they are taught that by pursuing God, He will bless them with more stuff. The place God should have in our hearts is no more. What happened?

In a nutshell, we have come to a point where it is the desire of man that counts, and not what God wants. What drives that may be greed, it may be denial, it may be pride or many other forms of worldliness. It may truly be an innocent lack of knowledge, who knows what is behind it in every case, but the cold hard facts are that man isn't pursuing God, unless He fits into man's worldly view somehow. Christians are leaving the church, the lost are not interested and offended if we ask, and the name we wear has become a term of contempt! What happened?

While these enemies of God are for the most part worldly people, sometimes they claim to be Christians. We must be on our guard either way. "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17,18)