Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Police Shootings and Violent Demonstrations... When Will It End?

"Several protesters and a dozen police officers were injured, and about five people were arrested after violent protests erupted after a deadly police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday.
Officers in riot gear deployed tear gas into a crowd of protesters after individuals targeted police cruisers, ABC affiliate WSOC-TV Charlotte reported."  (
Some people I've talked to say that they don't even turn on the news anymore because they're sick of hearing about the next officer-involved shooting or ISIS scare.  That's their choice of course, but the fact is that we live in a violent and scary world and whether we tune into the news or not isn't going to change that.  
Perhaps the most poignant question I've received from someone recently is this one: when will it end?  Sadly, violence won't end until THE end.  This is what God has to say about the times in which we live, "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).  That's the reason why we live in a violent and scary world.  
The distrust between police and people isn't because the police aren't doing their job.  It's because sinful people don't always make the right choices.  That was very true of some of the protestors in Charlotte.  Some of them didn't make the right choices when they began to throw rocks at police, destroy police property and loot.  Even though there will be times when those in authority over us don't always make the right choices, they are human after all, that doesn't mean we shouldn't love and respect them for who they are: "For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good" (Romans 13:4).  Police officers and the governing authorities are in our communities for our good.  Thank God for them.  Respect them by obeying the rules.  When you talk to them, thank them and encourage them to keep protecting our communities.  Pray for them, our community and all those who are hurting due to the recent violence in our nation.  
The good news is that even though people with a free will, yet not so free because sin influences their thoughts and choices, are responsible for violence, there will come a day when Jesus will call everyone to account.  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
When will that happen?  I don't know.  Jesus put it this way, "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows" (Mark 13:32).  However, I do know that the violence will end because Jesus says so.  To a man who was crucified next to him, a man who was there because he had been violent and deserved what he had coming to him, Jesus said to that man when he confessed his sin, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."  (Luke 23:43).
That's Jesus' promise to all who believe in Him.  When will violence end?  When Jesus calls us home to heaven or when He returns in judgment, whichever happens first.  Either way Jesus will give us what He has promised, because only He saved us from the penalty of sin by giving His life on the cross and then taking it back again three days later (John 3:16).  Trust Him.  And until that day when we meet Him, keep living for Him by loving others.  "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:9-12).