Today for the third day in less than a month a child was found abused to the point of death in our area. Now, for some areas, this might seem like a small number, but in my rural community (the county seat has 19,000 residents), this kind of thing used to be rare, almost non-existent. So to have it happen so frequently in such a short amount of time has everyone reeling.
Facebook is full of the disbelief and the shock. Nearly everyplace you go, you’ll over hear the conversations about these cases. Everyone is horrified. How can this be happening in our small town?
It wasn’t that long ago that we had another shocking incident happen nearby. The realization that such immortality was happening in our quiet little county was unimaginable. And as sickened as I am by all of it, my heart breaks knowing that there is no end in sight.
You see, three generations ago, none of these offenders ancestors would have thought of doing what the current generation did. However, if I had to guess, I’d say that someone in that generation decided that following Jesus Christ wasn’t important anymore. Church attendance slacked off and because nothing really “bad” happened, everyone decided that church really wasn’t relevant. Jesus wasn’t an important part of the 19th or 20th century. But back then, this kind of thing was rare in small town America. Back when people were teaching their children that morality is based on the Bible and that Jesus Christ valued them enough to die for them, the crime rate in small towns was low. Teen pregnancy and alcoholism were probably the worst problems. And it’s not that people who went to church never did anything bad. No, even church families experienced moral dilemma, but those who truly dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ and not just the dogma of the church found themselves experiencing the really awful stuff less often.
Those who’ve read my letters to the editor and other rants before have heard it all. But when will people finally see that what I’m saying has some merit? When will the churches begin to see people who are really seeking Christ, who want the Creator of the Universe to save them, walk with them and change them?
If folks would read Isaiah and Jeremiah, they’d see that America isn’t experiencing anything new. No, we are repeating history. Every Judeo-Christian civilization has found peace and prosperity as long as they follow their Creator, but as the level of commitment to Christ and the Father drop off, so does the morality rate.
Truthfully, if you don’t believe in Christ and the Bible, why should you believe that murder is wrong? Because I say so? If you don’t believe that everyone has been created in the image of God and has value simply because of the One who made them, then why shouldn’t people be abused? Rules of society change like the flowers throughout the seasons, but God remains the same. Ten simple rules . . . but no one could follow them. Not to mention the interpretation of those rules rivals Supreme Court judges trying to interpret the constitution.
So Jesus came . . . He fulfilled the need for the rules. If you just love Him, serve Him, believe that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for trying to play God and let His Spirit lead, you get eternal life. That’s not just life in heaven! That’s abundant life starting NOW! It’s a life that gives people self worth, so they don’t need to abuse others. It’s a life that has been proven to set people free from drugs and alcohol. It’s a life with troubles, there’s no guarantee we will avoid those. But it’s a life that promises HOPE in the midst of those troubles.
But, for some reason, folks don’t want it. They prefer the hopelessness that leads to drug and alcohol abuse. They’d rather live in the pit that pulls them into the trap of abusing others. I know a lot of churches in our area that offer a real relationship with Jesus Christ (not just a list of rules and church dogma to weigh you down). Yet, these churches struggle to grow. Even when people come, they come sporadically, and each church has a faithful 10-15% who are living the good life that Jesus promised.
I don’t know how to convince folks they have the power to change. And not just for themselves, for future generations. Your life may be great! But I promise you, several generations with out Jesus will lead to drugs, alcohol, robbery, abuse, sexual immorality and even murder.
Jesus offers freedom from all of those devastating experiences. He wants to give new life to EVERYONE! He wants to bless you to the 1000th generation. What do you choose?