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Processing…

Neal Pollard

I woke up just before 5 AM to an ominous notification from my Jerusalem Post app. Downstairs, turning on the news, the horrific truth was confirmed. The worst mass shooting in modern American history. Not long after, I was in my gym locker room. A gym buddy, Mike, a self-described C&E (i.e., “Christmas And Easter”) Catholic, greeted me. Usually, I am not tempted to ask this, but I found myself asking him, “How does something like this happen?” His 5-word, profound answer was, “No love, no Jesus, man.”

Some random thoughts occurred to me, in processing the events in Las Vegas late on Sunday night, October 1st.

  • Luke 13:1-5. This did not happen because the people in Las Vegas, Nevada, are more wicked and evil than people in other parts of this country or the world. The need among the over 20,000 accountable adults at that country music festival is the same need that all of us have, to be penitent believers in Christ.
  • Second Amendment And Gun Control. Investigations are still ongoing, but there is preliminary reason to believe that at least one or some of the guns used by the shooter would have been obtained illegally. Gun control laws would not prevent illegal weapons. At the same time, there were several fire arms on those in attendance. They proved useless against a shooter from 1000 feet away and 32 stories high. Guns are not inherently evil nor the all-encompassing answer.
  • Man. Man was both perpetrator and victim. Yet, man is so limited. We are not all-knowing or all-powerful. Highly trained law enforcement officers and first responders, who doubtless saved many lives, did not prevent this. How humbled these events make us!
  • Atheism. Nearly every news interview ended with the reporter or anchor with a pledge of prayers or similar reference to God. The president’s brief statement continuously referred to God and even quoted Scripture. Nobody invokes “survival of the fittest,” “big bang,” or “there is no God” to provide help, comfort, or strength to anyone. A Godless worldview is a hopeless one.

Big questions emerge from this fog of suffering. Christians, we not only have the answer, but as God works through us, we are the answer! I read a social media post from Sheila Butt, challenging us to take Christianity off the pew and into our daily lives. The soul we reach and life we help change might change the course of the world for good (or the prevention of evil). Mike nailed it. “No love, no Jesus, man.” Amen!

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DID CLAIRE DAVIS’ FATHER FORGIVE HER MURDERER?

Neal Pollard

Claire Davis’ father spoke at a memorial service honoring his daughter, an Arapahoe High School student shot by a classmate who was angry with his debate team coach.  In the course of his extremely emotional, but poignant talk, Michael Davis said, “My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did.  We would ask all of you here and all of you watching to forgive Karl Pierson. He didn’t know what he was doing” (http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24829368/). This young man entered the school with a shotgun, 125 shells, a machete and three homemade bombs (ibid.).  He ended his own life.  Despite all these facts, Davis says that he forgives Pierson.  Is that possible?

Some say that this is not Mr. Davis’ right nor is he able to do so.  I disagree.  Mr. Davis says that he did and I have no reason to disbelieve him.  His forgiving Pierson cannot effect the young man’s eternal destiny.  He does not have the power to absolve or wash away Karl’s sins.  Only the blood of Christ can do that.  But Mr. Davis’ incredible, magnanimous step is not only possible, it is vital.  Taking the step to forgive someone who has sinned against us is a crucial part of healing our own hearts and preventing ourselves from spiritual struggles like bitterness, anger, hatred, malice, and vindictiveness.

A heart ready to forgive is something that must characterize the Christian, for sure.  He or she may be hurt or violated in some way by a person who is impenitent and brazen.  While the Bible does not suggest that we allow ourselves to be hurt and sinned against repeatedly and without recourse or protection, God’s child eagerly hopes for the best and stands ready to extend forgiveness to others.

Mr. Davis is to be admired for his gesture.  It will not bring his daughter or even that young man back from death, but it may be key to his own mending.  Many who have been sinned against and have stood ready to forgive have found this to be beneficial to themselves.

The Father in heaven will not forgive those who are not abiding faithfully in His Son, but who doubts that He stands ready to welcome the vilest sinner who truly comes to Him?  That disposition could not be more worthy of our adopting.  Even in tragedies like that involving Miss Davis we can be reminded of the power of forgiving!