Curbing Violence

Violence is on the increase and has been for some time. Why? Why is this happening in our beloved nation? Please consider these observations.

There are two things that are basic to peace in a free society. The first is a Biblical perspective of people. That perspective is that all men have a soul made in the likeness of God. You have been endowed with a soul made in the image of God and every person on the face of the earth is so endowed. The value of a soul can be measured by what God did to save it. “By the grace of God, He tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). That is how precious souls are in the eyes of God. But our society has lost this perspective of people. And so, it is not surprising that society has so little regard for life.

The second thing basic to peace in a free society is a Biblical perspective of the justice of God. Why would a man, after shooting his wife to death, then put the gun to his own head and pull the trigger? Because he believes by taking his own life, he does not have to pay for his crime. But five seconds after he pulled that trigger, he was in a whole lot more trouble than he would have been had he not done so. A bullet to the head or a rope around the neck or an overdose of drugs is not the way to get out of trouble. That’s when the real trouble begins. Please read Mark 8:42-48; Luke 16:19-24; Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:4-9.

Those who have lost a Biblical perspective of people and lost a Biblical perspective of the justice of God have done so as a result of rejecting the Word of God as an objective authoritative standard by which we must live and by which we will all be judged. And it must be restored if there is to be a change in the conduct of society.

  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher

The Squeaking Wheel Gets the Grease

According to a newspaper writer, much more money is being spent on AIDS research than on cancer research and much, much more is being spent on cancer research than on heart disease research. This is in spite of the fact that heart disease claims far, far more lives every year than does cancer, and cancer claims far, far more lives than does AIDS. The writer explains all this by saying that it is the squeaking wheel that gets the grease. That principle is also true regarding our religious activities. It is the squeaking wheel that gets the grease. Since that is true, religious people must be aware of two things.

First, we must know what ought to be squeaking the loudest. As per the illustration above, that which ought to squeak the loudest may not be. Have you been saved? Have you obeyed the gospel? Have you been born again? Until you have been, the rest of your religious activity doesn’t matter. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Having been born again, you must be wholly committed to Him and live for Him according to His standards revealed in the New Testament. Being born again and living for Him must be first and foremost in our lives.

Second, we must become squeakers. Heart disease people are being out-squeaked. In the religious realm, that which ought to be first often ends up last. It gets out-squeaked. The saved must be teachers of the lost and examples of Christian living. It is the whole duty of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20).

That is the aim of the Elkins church of Christ.

  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher

Dealing With Tragedy

Tragedy strikes our community on a daily basis in one form or another. And oh, the pain of it all! In 2 Corinthians 1, we learn three things that may help.

Tragedy is universal. It is no respecter of persons. Sooner or later, in one form or another, it comes to all – even to God’s people. The apostle Paul speaks of tragedy that came into his life in Asia (1:8). So, when it does come, it is helpful to know that we are not being singled out. We are not being picked on. We are not being punished. God is not mad at us. We are not being repaid for some evil deed. We live in a fallen world where tragedy is so common that no one is immune.

Tragedy can be overcome through God. Paul spoke of Him as “the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation” (1:3-4). He gives us strength to overcome tragedy by giving us the knowledge that this life and all of its tragedies are temporary and preparatory for the eternal world to come. Even though tragedy may strike our body or that of a loved one, the soul lives on in eternity. He provides strength to overcome through prayer, His word, His Spirit, and His people.

Tragedy may eventually prove to be helpful. He comforts us “that” we may be able, with the same comfort, to strengthen those experiencing the same tragedy (verse 4). Those who have been down that road can not only sympathize but can actually help others on that same road. They know the feeling and the things that helped them. Great dependency and trust in God is learned when one has been delivered from tragedy (1:9).

No one wants it, and we try desperately to avoid it, but it comes just the same. When it does, there is help in the Lord. If we avail ourselves of that help, we become better equipped to help others.

  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher