A debased, godless mind in Vegas

Published 10:28 pm Friday, October 6, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

It has happened yet again. People around the world woke up to the news of yet another episode of mass murder. This kind of horror seems to be “the new normal.”

This time, it was not ISIS or another extremist group, just a hate-filled person who wanted to wipe out as many of his fellow human beings as he could, before taking his own life.

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If Stephen Paddock had known the hell that awaited him on the other side of death, he would not have sought to unleash hell on other people. If he had known the Savior who offers a better way, his heart would have been filled with love, not hate.

But Paddock neither loved God nor possessed any healthy fear of him. He was the epitome of what the Scriptures say about godless humanity:

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:28-30)

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, Pat Robertson stated that the problem is that people have “lost respect for authority.” He went on to somehow link people criticizing the President and NFL players not standing for the national anthem to the actions of Stephen Paddock.

Robertson is missing the point and missing it badly. As someone who believes the Bible, he should know better. The Bible tells us that the problem is infinitely deeper than “disrespecting authority.”

The real problem is a worship problem. Every human being worships someone or something. If we do not worship God, we worship idols.

When that happens, our minds become debased. And that leads to hate and murder. Every sin human beings commit has its root in the soil of idolatry.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Behind the broken windows of a hotel in Las Vegas, a darkened mind was carrying out a dark deed.

As people turn away from the living God to worship idols, we should expect more of this.

“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” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Welcome to the last days. The good news for those who know Jesus is that he is coming again. It could be soon. We should long for his return, and pray for his return.

If we have turned to him in repentance and faith and surrendered to him as our Savior and King, we have nothing to fear from the return of the King.

Personally, events like Las Vegas make me pray all the more fervently: “Our Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.