Evil has only one remedy

Published 9:10 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

It has happened again. As I took a moment to glance at the news on Twitter on Valentine’s Day, I saw urgent tweets to pray for students at a high school in southern Florida, where another mass shooting had occurred.

The community of Parkland, Fla., was recently honored as the “safest” community in Florida, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is filled with high-achieving students. But no place is exempt from the evil that stalks us in our culture.

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As Romans 3:15 says of sinful human beings, “Their feet are swift to shed blood.”

Of course, in the aftermath of the mass shooting, there was the usual groping for answers. On one side were people calling for more gun control. On the other side were people saying that gun control will not stop a determined killer, and that we need armed teachers and coaches on campuses who could stop such a killer. Others pointed to the repeated failures of law enforcement to follow up on the dozens of signs that Nikolas Cruz was a potential threat to the campus. Still others pointed to the failure of the single armed officer on campus to enter the building.

But almost no one was pointing to the deepest issue in this, which is evil in the human heart.

The age of the mass school shooting began on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Colorado — another great school in a great community. But on that day, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unleashed the hell they had been plotting for months, as they entered the building and mowed down their fellow students.

Susan Klebold, Dylan’s mother, wrote this: “In raising Dylan, I taught him how to protect himself from a host of dangers: lightning, snake bites, head injuries, skin cancer, smoking, drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, drug addiction, reckless driving, even carbon monoxide poisoning. It never occurred to me that the gravest danger – to him, and as it turned out, to many others – might come from within.”

“From within.” Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

The problem in our sick culture is that we have diseased hearts. All behavior, including murder, comes from our sin-sick souls. We can talk about greater restrictions on assault weapons and hardening our campuses and getting law enforcement to follow up quickly on those who may be a threat. Those are conversations that may need to take place, but they only treat symptoms.

The deep problem of evil in the human heart can only be remedied by the One who took evil on Himself and died for it on a cross. The Dylan Klebolds and Nikolas Cruzes of the world are instruments of Satan. Anyone who looked at the eyes of Cruz as officers arrested him could see the demonic influence.

But what if the gospel of Jesus Christ had gotten there first? What if this young man had turned to Jesus and been filled with the Holy Spirit, instead of the spirit of the evil one? He would have been filled with love for God and for others, rather than murderous hate.

We need Jesus.

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