Yesterday I heard the news of a school shooting in Uvalde, TX, which I relayed to my senior boss who lives only about 40 miles away. It’s mostly a rural community and most everyone knows someone who knows someone else. It’s the type of place where people feel safe. But here on this earth where “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8), safety is an illusion.

A short perusal of Facebook this morning told me that people are disheartened and as armchair psychologists have decided it’s either a mental health problem or a gun problem. God’s Word tells me that it’s none of those things — it’s a heart problem. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matt 15:18-19)

In this age where we are all supposed to be tolerant of everyone’s sin that they throw in our face, people have hardened their hearts to the love of God. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim 3:1-5)

There are many who say that turning away from those who show you who they are is harsh. But truthfully, for those who choose to follow Jesus we must keep our eyes on Him. We are to show love to others and share the gospel so that others may, too, be saved from the lake of fire. However, many won’t hear. In those instances, we should heed Jesus’s words: “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matt 10:14).

We have no control over what others choose. We can lament the state of the hearts of others, but all we can truly do is submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s work within us. “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col 3:5-9)

Instead of following the world’s way, as the Lord’s people we are to follow His way. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Col 3:12-15)

We need to remember who our true enemy is: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph 6:10-13)

The times are difficult, and I don’t see it changing although I hope it will. We need to make certain that we encourage one another. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col 3:16-17)