Good morning to all. I pray you are off to a great Wednesday. See message below:
September 28, 2021
When I woke up this morning, the word violence was on my mind. On Monday, there was a heavy concentration from the media on the increase in recent violent acts. In the midst of a pandemic, one would think that violent activity would have decreased. A disease that is killing thousands every day is sad enough, but when we are doing physical and emotional harm to each other, that really makes no sense and it has become alarming.
It was appalling to hear about the fights at Six Flags on Saturday night. This is a public place that many folk in the DMV look forward to taking their families for entertainment and fun. As I watched on the evening news, my heart ached as I observed such unruly behavior. People were running as the security officers advised them to do so. Watching young people jumping on cars, breaking windows, fighting each other, etc. was difficult to watch.
Just as we have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, so has there been a surge in violence throughout the United States. In New York alone, an emergency has been declared due to increased levels of gun violence. Former governor Andrew Cuomo said, “More people are now dying from gun violence and crime than from Covid.”
The New York Times has reported that 37 cities across the US during the first three months of this year has reported an 18% increase in murders compared to the same time frame in 2020.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2021 is on pace to be America’s deadliest year of gun violence in the last two decades. There have been 296 mass shootings in the United States this year. It is alarming to know that there have been this many shootings where 4 or more people have been killed.
President Joe Biden has stated repeatedly that we are experiencing an epidemic of gun violence in this country. It breaks your heart to hear about innocent children being shot down. Just imagine a parent having to bury a child because of such foolishness.
There is great attention given to gun violence, but something is triggering violence just in general. Folk are even creating physical chaos on airplanes, just to name another place of unexpected violence.
I think that most rational people would agree that Congress has let us down in so many ways over the last several years. If the bickering and divisiveness on both sides of the aisle would cease, many of the problems we are facing regarding violence may not be resolved totally, but law could be put in place to curtail some of the violent activities.
In my opinion, the gun is not the problem. The crux of the problem is in the hearts and minds of the people who carry guns. Our political representatives have let us down by not doing more regarding gun control, but we must get a grip on how we are to treat our brothers and sisters. Road rage has become a serious problem on our highways. I don’t know about you, but whenever I am on the highway driving, there is usually some driver who does something unnerving and unlawful. Take it from me, the best thing to do is ignore it and keep it moving.
Violence did not just start, for we know that two brothers, Cain and Abel, were the first two brothers recorded in human history to commit the heinous act of murder. Two brothers, Cain a farmer and Abel raised livestock. They both brought offerings to God. Cain chose to bring vegetables from his harvest as an offering. Abel chose the very best of his livestock as an offering to God. God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. In his anger, Cain killed Abel.
God began a conversation with Cain and asked the question, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) Cain’s response did not have the meaning we apply to those words today. Cain was being cynical and indicating he had no regard or concern for his brother. Remember, he just killed his brother Abel.
As we continue on life’s journey, it is my prayer and hope that we will have a greater interest and concern for each other. May we have a greater interest in the well-being of our brothers and sisters. We are taught to, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 13:1).
If we all could embrace this scripture, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13). What a difference it would make in rooting out violence!
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor