From Jim O'Brien
February 16, 2018

Hi Friend,

In Search of Justice

By now you've heard about the terrible massacre at a Florida school where seventeen people were murdered and many others injured by a deranged former student. As much as we want these kinds of events to end we seem to instinctively know they won't. We seem powerless to stop the insanity-hamstrung by our own lack of will.

We now know that the shooter had publicized his plans on the Internet. He wrote about shooting people at school and the FBI had been warned of the danger he represented.

Hard as it is to believe, reports of copycat threats are circulating in the news.

At Bible Study this week I asked the group what they think has caused this crisis. Every answer was relevant. One person mentioned a critical factor in our history that I would not have considered. He said it began when the death penalty was abolished.

His answer caused me to reflect on pivotal factors that have shaped the character of America. There are specific things that have corrupted the soul of our nation. We legalized abortion and redefined marriage to be something that has no definition. We removed the signs on bathroom doors and told kids that they can't let nature determine their sex.

How can a people so upside down in thinking possibly determine what is just?

The Bible contains a fascinating event in the life of David when King Saul was pursuing him. Saul was in the thick of a battle with the Philistines when he was wounded by an archer. Surrounded by the enemy and knowing he could not escape, he fell on his sword. As the story goes an Amalekite soldier came upon Saul while he was still living. Saul asked him to kill him before the enemy arrived, probably anticipating he would be tortured.

The Amalekite killed Saul, took his ring and his crown and made his way to David, thinking David would reward him for killing his adversary and delivering the symbols of kingship. How wrong he was!

Far from rewarding the man, David punished him. "David called one of his men and said, "Go, strike him down!" So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, "Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, 'I killed the Lord's anointed.'" (2 Samuel 1: 15-16)

At first blush one might be surprised that David would react this way. After all, Saul had asked the man to kill him. Besides, the story leaves open the possibility that the man was lying. It's possible that the man came upon Saul's dead body but invented the narrative that he killed Saul hoping David would reward him for killing an adversary and delivering his crown.

Whatever really happened, David's sense of justice required the execution of a person who even claimed to have killed the king. After all, David would be the next king so why would he tolerate a citizen who was willing to murder the previous king?

Which brings us to the next question. Why would America tolerate a person who would broadcast that he is planning to bomb a school?

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien