At 9 a.m., I turned on the news and learned of the horrific shooting of a TV news reporter and photographer in Virginia. The shooting happened during a live broadcast. The shooter posted footage of the murder on social media, tweeted about his "grievances", and then was chased down the interstate where he apparently shot himself before wrecking his car. He died at a Virginia hospital.
My BFF asked the question, "What is WITH people?"
If this shooting hadn't happened, the final sentencing of James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter, would have been a much bigger story today.
Josh Duggar, oldest son of the TV reality family, admitted to being addicted to pornography, being unfaithful to his wife, and, as of today, has checked into a rehab center.
Over in France, a potential gunman was tackled by three Americans and a Brit; likely preventing a massacre.
And when anyone hears or says 9/11, Sandy Hook, Columbine, or Aurora, no further explanation is needed.
What is WITH people? My BFF isn't alone in asking that question.
I know the stock answers: God created us perfect but with free will, and man chose to exercise that free will in rebellion against God. Ever since, there has been sin in the world, and Jesus died to free us from the power of sin and death, so that we might have a relationship with him.
But the stock answers don't always fulfill our need for an answer to the question, "What is WITH people?" I can boil it all down to sin, both my own and other peoples . . . and yet, there are times that answer just seems overly simplistic. I can deal with the answer of "sin" when it's someone else's sin. Or, when it's the sinner dealing with the consequences of their own sin (like James Holmes being sentenced to prison for his murders). I have a harder time when it's someone else paying the consequences for another person's sin (like Holmes' victims.)
What is WITH people?
Mankind is evil, thanks to Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. Mankind has redemption, through Jesus Christ. Redemption is free for the taking. While it did cost Jesus his life, and God his son, we are not required to pay anything. We ARE called to give our lives back . . . but God gives redemption first, and we, in appreciation, give our lives in return to him.
It sounds simple on paper. It is not easy in real life.
In responding to a question from the London Times, "What is wrong with the world/", author G.K. Chesterson is alleged to have answered, "I am."
I can't completely answer the question, what is WITH people. I can only answer the question, what is with me?
My pride, my sin, gets in the way of accepting God's forgiveness. It gets in the way of confessing my sins and admitting my need for God. I live in an imperfect world and I have to deal with the consequences of others' sins. And I deal with my own questions as to why certain types of evil, and why certain types of sin.
I sin on a daily basis. I hold sinful attitudes. I struggle with forgiveness. I am the most judgmental person I know. I hold a grip on grudges that is very hard to loosen at times. My "outside" life might be considered "clean", but my "inside" life is often full of doubt confusion, and sin. It is hard for me to trust God in the middle of difficult circumstances. Too often, I see God as the disembodied head from The Wizard of Oz, while forgetting that that head was operated by a man behind the curtain who, by his own admission was a "very bad wizard".
Maybe, like the Michael Jackson song, I need to answer the question, "What is WITH people," by looking at the person in the mirror.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.