Sutherland Springs joins a list, including Las Vegas, Sandy Hook and Columbine, as names synonyms for mass shootings.
The cry for a motive came immediately. The more unreasonable, the more unthinkable, an action is the louder of an outcry there is from within the human soul for a motive. We all want to understand why. Death without reason is one of the most senseless and feared things in the human race, therefore, we all desire answers.
There are three questions in the search for a motive that is always the first to arise. Was it an act of terrorism? Did the shooter have mental health issues? Does the suspect have a history of criminal violence? I believe we ask these questions because we tend to think that the unthinkable can only come from our worst enemy, the insane, or someone already prone to murder and violence.
When none of these reasons answer the question of “why,” the conspiracy theories tend to fly. The more “normal” the shooter in Las Vegas seemed to be, the more we heard tales of him shooting into the crowd because many of them were Trump supporters, that he was only a patsy, that the security guard was somehow involved and on and on the theories go. All conspiracy theories are attempts to come up with answers when there are no answers or when people are unwilling to believe the answers given.
Another reason for the frantic search for a motive is the desire to find a solution. When it comes to the mass shootings, some believe the gun culture is at fault, so they seek more gun control. Others tend to think mental health issues are at the core of the problem, so they want more education, research and legislation in this area to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.
The bottom line is these mass killings are happening, and society does not seem to have any answers. The primary motive behind Texas appears to be a domestic dispute, but that does not answer why all the innocent people died. This question may sound morbid, but if he wanted to kill a particular individual, why not get that person alone and do the dastardly deed? Why go into a building with 50-plus people and shoot at everyone there? The rational mind has no answer for that.
In speaking of the human race, God says in Proverbs 1:16, “For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” Again from the Romans 1:15, “Their feet are swift to shed blood.” It does not look like much changed in the condition of humanity from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
There are other factors at play. We are moving closer to the end times and return of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy chapter three, the “last days” are referred to as “perilous times.” The passage has a long list of general events and the prevailing conditions of people’s hearts in those perilous times. Men’s hearts will not just turn wicked like a light switch being turned on, but over time society will grow worse and worse. One item in the list is, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived,” 2 Timothy 3:13.
Maybe the all the answers we are looking for are in the Scriptures, but society as a whole is unwilling to go there. Men’s feet are swift to shed blood, and evil men are waxing worse and worse.
There are societal problems the Scriptures tell us are only fixed by Jesus when He sits on the throne in Jerusalem after His return; poverty would be an example (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8). War and violence, and hence these senseless killings, can only be eliminated by the government of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Isaiah 2:4).
One may wonder why mass shootings are on the increase; after all, only a few decades ago, these events were unthinkable. Again, as we get closer to the rapture, the rise of the Antichrist and the earthly return of Jesus, evil men will wax worse and worse. Also, and more importantly, Christ was a much more significant part of the American culture in generations past.
The answers to our problems, including the growth of the list of the names of towns and cities synonymous with mass killings, is Christ. However, as American society moves further away from its founding Christian principles, we move further and further from the solution.
All mass change begins with an individual. How close is your heart to the heart of Jesus – the solution to all problems?
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His sermons can be found on SoundCloud.