Three gruesome, murderous incidents this past week underscore the existence of an evil that could only be explained in supernatural terms. Juxtaposed on that was a recent article in World magazine noting the vast spiritual ignorance of the unchurched in America. Coincidence? I don't think so.
In the Detroit area, three teenagers (all white by the way) mercilessly beat a middle-aged man with a large piece of concrete until he was a bloody and dead pulp. What motivated them to this horrific act was the man's alleged failure to pay for a couple of $5.00 bags of marijuana. That the man was a friend of one teen's father was apparently of no concern to the murderers.
A woman in Texas not only murdered her three-week-old baby, she then turned cannibal and devoured the dead child's brains. She later claimed that she didn't mean to do it. How a mother can turn on her own innocent child in such an unspeakably horrible manner is beyond explanation-in human terms anyway.
Then, a 35-year-old woman in New England, apparently frustrated that she had not been able to conceive, murdered an expectant mother and literally ripped the baby from the mother's womb, claiming the newborn as her own. Thankfully, law enforcement connected the dots and arrested her shortly thereafter, and the baby is apparently all right-except, of course, that he or she will never know their true mother.
Acts like those above can only be explained by evil forces that are in this world and cause men and women alike to harbor dark thoughts and occasionally act out on them, beyond the scope of simple human nature. How else does one explain, for example, the radical Islamists and their murderous jihad against us? How else does one explain the unspeakable atrocities Nazi Germany visited upon the Jews and other so-called "enemies?"
At the same time, the number of unchurched, unbelieving Americans is growing as a new generation is coming of age in an increasingly secularized age where, to the masses addicted to popular culture, God is irrelevant or even non-existent in the eyes of many who have probably never heard about Him. Witness the observation in a recent World magazine article about a couple who visited an Episcopal priest after a service and asked, on behalf of their teenage son, "who the man is hanging on the plus sign." With that type of ignorance going on in this country about who Jesus is, it's no wonder that we're in the moral and spiritual shape that we're in. We've moved way beyond the once-safe assumption that everyone in this country knew about God; with many choosing Him and others choosing to turn their backs on Him. Now it seems that we have an ever-increasing population of those who have never heard about Him or even of Him. No wonder that many evangelical churches are considering their home towns and surrounding areas as their primary "mission fields" these days.
And what of the three cases above, all involving young people who snuffed out the life of someone who, in their twisted view, was somehow inconveniencing them to the point where they had to be terminated? Now they will each spend the rest of their lives-and perhaps eternity-paying a physical and emotional price for what they have done. What a terrible waste.
But on another level, these people were simply acting out in the extreme what most of us harbor in our darker moments-the desire to control or to have something or someone that does not rightly belong to us, and adopting the "end justifies the means" attitude in justifying our efforts to obtain it. The difference is that most normal people reign in these urges and realize that it's not good to pursue them. Unfortunately, these desires may turn uncontrollable without the power and influence of God in our lives. That's why when we pray for our controlling politicians in Washington with all of their false promises and power grabs, we need to especially pray that in their quest for power, they obtain enough wisdom along the way to recognize when they're going too far. And that time is coming soon if it is not already here.