If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a huge increase in violence and criminal behavior over this last year. Since the spring of 2020, in various cities we have seen social upheaval, riots and demonstrations, occupation and destruction of public property, looting, increased shootings, and countless forms of assault. The media has avoided giving this too much attention, but overwhelming data is coming in and the numbers are staggering.
Some attempt to defend criminal acts as the price for social change- the price society must pay to accomplish a greater good. But it is impossible to connect these acts to a beneficiary besides the one perpetrating these crimes.
What group or individuals profit from the vandalism, destruction, and theft of others’ homes or businesses? What cause is improved by shootings in broad daylight, random acts of violence, or the recklessness and rage inflicted on those with the misfortune of being in close proximity?
I can’t think of one.
Yet this will continue and likely deteriorate until authorities and district attorneys stand against these activities and return to upholding and enforcing the law. This is a plain and simple truth stated in Scripture:
“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.” (Eccl 8:11)
It is inevitable. What is rewarded is repeated. And those who participate in criminal acts with no fear of consequence will continue. And unfortunately, it may get worse.
Remember, God made us right. He made us whole and complete. He gave us sheer perfection, but mankind ruined it. Sin contaminated our hearts and His beautiful creation and we continue to see the effects of this devastation. Ecclesiastes explains that “God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.” (Eccl. 7:29)
These schemes or devices for evil are what we see unfolding before our very eyes today. Unfortunately this is not new. But what is new to those of us accustomed to living in a society that would enforce and uphold the law, is the abdication of the duty to enforce the law. Many leaders have bought into and sold others on the idea that these behaviors are justifiable and quite noble, if they are attributed somehow to a type of social reform.
That is worldly thinking shrouded in virtuosity.
The Bible gives us plenty of resources to view and understand with wisdom, what we see happening in the world, in our nation, and even our communities. The books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job offer a perspective on God’s Sovereign design and goodness and how we wrestle against it in our human nature.
There, we can read the warnings of the power of sin to not only entangle us, but to hold us without mercy. “As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” (Eccl 8:8b) We have vastly underestimated the power of sin for those entangled by it.
Thankfully, Christ gives us victory in our battle with sin! But we cannot justify it, ignore it, or condone it.
Our culture does need refining. We need to recognize and repent of errors that continue to hurt and hinder others. But true cultural reformation begins with the hearts of individuals- hearts that have been transformed by the power of Christ in our lives to grant us forgiveness, peace, purpose, reconciliation with God, and an absolute hope for the future.
If you would like to read more about Proverbs and the Wisdom provided there, Crowning Wisdom is an inspirational reference guide to the timeless wisdom of Proverbs through modern-day anecdotes and inspiration. It organizes major passages according to topic and subject matter and helps students of Wisdom to grow in knowledge, character, and confidence as we “walk with wise and become wiser.“