So how do you process negative news? Racism, senseless murders, injustice, inequality, poverty, etc? Today, thinking about the mass shooting which took place in Las Vegas, I’m concerned about how people will be affected for years to come. People will begin processing and recovering from this horrific shooting, but exactly how?
We will move forward, one way or another. But exactly how we move forward is the question. I’m not here to give you a magical solution that will solve all the evil in this world. But here’s my advice as to how to process these things.
1. Understand that Bible prophecy speaks of evil days, gross darkness, and perilous times.
Why is that important to know? Well, for one we as human beings need a semblance of order and predictability. A basic need we have is to have a sense of purpose and reason. When we cannot explain why things are the way they are it makes us question everything. It makes us feel shaky and confused, wondering what exactly is real! We wonder, “What can I trust? What is going on?!?”
I hate to break it to you, humanity is inflicted with a disease called sin. It breeds selfishness, violence, greed, lust, and all kinds of evil acts. This is the condition of the world. It’s not a defeatist mindset to acknowledge this. In fact if we understand this it will empower us to have a more effective response to tragedy. The Bible warns us and prepares us by informing us that these things will happen. Some things we can avert through prayer. But there are some things we cannot.
2. There will always be evil in this world.
Until Christ subdues all powers and kingdoms of this world, this kind and other kinds of evils will continue to happen. Not exactly good news, right? Stay with me.
3. God provides aid, comfort, and strength. Plus, He provides promises to protect us.
Here’s one that I love:
Psalm 91:1, 5-7
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty..(5) You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, (6) Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.(7 ) A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.”
This entire psalm speaks of God’s promise to protect us. Now more than ever, let us abide in His presence and let us trust His word to us. Keep in mind, as one who follows Christ, you are in this world but you are not of it. This means there may be darkness and peril, but you have a God that you can trust to protect you and keep you.
4. God’s allowance of evil isn’t God’s endorsement of evil
This is one of the biggest things we must get clear. God isn’t the author of evil. He gets no pleasure seeing suffering. Yet clearly He allows it. But why?
This is an age where the wheat and the tares are growing together. Jesus explained very clearly that in this age, rather than just destroy every evil person, God is giving time and space for as many people as possible to come to the knowledge of truth. As a consequence the righteous and unrighteous dwell together. This means we have a world that is filled with good and evil. We have a world that allows us to be shocked by evil, which if you think about it, means we are accustomed to good. As biblical prophecy teaches, a time is coming where Christ will restore world order, justice, and peace. He will judge the nations of the earth and the souls of men. That time isn’t now.
5. Think on what is just, not on what is unjust.
Justice and injustice are two sides of the same coin. Yet focusing on the wrong side will put you in fear, negativity, and hate. Scripture (Philippians 4:8-9) shows us we should occupy our minds with justice, not injustice. What does that mean? As an example, it means you can have two people, both responding to the same issue, but one focuses on alleviating the burden, the other focuses on talking about the burden.
I’ve seen people talk at nauseam about what’s not right with the world. That is thinking on what is unjust. I’ve seen people focus on spreading what is right in the world. That’s thinking on what is just. The latter keeps you in peace and peace keeps you clear-minded to make a difference.
Let’s sincerely pray for Las Vegas. Let it not be merely a hashtag. But as we pray, let us understand that Jesus is still Lord, His word remains true, and His will and promises can be trusted.