Authorities, frustrated at lack of motive for the murder of 58 concert-goers, by Stephen Paddock, turn to public for help.
Billboards have been erected around Las Vegas with the slogan “if you know something, say something,” to elicit a response of any hint of motive for the slayings.
We need someone bigger to blame. Or something. An ideology, religion, or vengeance maybe? Mental illness just won’t cut it this time. Not enough history, and the autopsy showed no brain abnormalities. Not enough evidence.
This guy just doesn’t fit the script. Plenty of money, a lavish lifestyle, steady girlfriend.
The Devil Himself
The truth is, we really are just that bad and sinful and everyone is capable of doing something similar, according to scripture, because we are what theologians call “depraved.” In other words, we don’t really need a motive because if you really understand the dark-side of human nature, this disgusting incident, quite unfortunately, fits the script. I know how shocking those last lines may sound but stay with me for a moment, we are also made in the image of God. Now, that means we can image forth God, who is good, and every good deed that man has done is a reflection of His creator. Matthew Cobos who offered his life for the public by laying atop them to shield them with his own body from the bullets; was acting just like Jesus the day he went to the cross for us. Unfortunately, we can also image forth Satan; who was behind the scenes superintending Jesus being murdered on the cross, and who Paddock was imaging forth in Las Vegas when he murdered 58.
Now there is another nuance to this: victimization. There is a place in scripture for being used by the devil to do things you don’t want to. In Mark 9:17-27 there is an account of a boy possessed by a demon and tormented and thrown in the fire and water to kill him; he is made to do things that he would not have done if he were in control. There is an account here that hints that demon possession may have been a reality in Paddock’s life.
Speak of the Devil
We don’t have a motive for Paddock, but we have one for the Devil; He came to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). He killed those people, he stole their lives away from their loved ones, and he destroyed their lives and their peace.
That’s Satan’s motive, and if he can use and influence a human to carry out his business plan, he will; every single time.
So when you remember the sound of the rapid automatic fire from those videos, think about Paddock, yes, he is culpable for his actions, and is the worst example of humanity. But also, when you remember that awful sound of carnage and destruction and misery, think ultimately about Satan, smiling and reveling and loving every second of it, for he is it’s creator, designer, and architect. It’s his ideal for all humanity. So Paddock’s motive is wrapped up in and superintended by Satan’s motive, which is really no mystery at all. Except to the unbeliever. If we believe the scriptures, we have the answer we seek. If we don’t believe, maybe we should consider again the evidence (John 20:24-31).
Good sentiment, bad focus
Control never ultimately delivers what it promises. Many people want to control guns because they actually believe that is the answer to “controlling” the problem of mass slayings such as this. The problem is that if it is indeed human nature that is the real problem, and I believe it is; it cannot be controlled. People will always rebel against control.
What hope is there?
Since we cannot ultimately control the outcomes of human nature in it’s depraved state, we are left to search for another remedy. One thing that no one can ever take away from a human being is the ability to influence others. Influence is like prayer; no one can really stop it from happening. They can ban it from schools, but students can still pray with their eyes wide open! Influence works the same way, we can influence the world for Christ. The ultimate remedy for mass slayings is a change of heart, and that can only happen when Christ comes into the mind and soul and renovates. Murder originates in the heart of man and so that is where we must influence if we hope to change the outcome. Dealing with the guns, or knives, or cars, or sticks, or stones is just dealing with the symptoms and much like putting band-aids on a gunshot wound that has traumatized organs and is bleeding out; a much deeper remedy is needed. That remedy is the Gospel and if we as a nation would spread that message of hope and real change with the fervency that is applied to legislating controlling laws; we would see a much different and better outcome I do believe.
This could happen to anyone; Jesus addressed a mass killing in scripture: Pontius Pilate killed many Galileans and mixed their blood with a sacrifice in Luke 13:1-3. Application? We’ve all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We live in a fallen and dangerous world. Those concert goers had no idea that that day would be their last. We don’t know when our last day will come, so we need to be ready by doing what Jesus said we should do: repent. That means to turn from our ways of thinking we are god of our lives and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. By believing on Him we can have our lives redeemed. John 1:12. And by sharing our faith and influencing those in our sphere, we have the opportunity to see heart change in the lives of all people around us. Who knows how far that influence could reach?
“We must be active in sharing our hope if we wish to see less active shooters in the world.”
Here is a picture of Hitler in his 4th grade class in 1899. Look at all the potential influence around him. I’m sure no one ever suspected he would grow up to do what he did. Meditate on these things.
Hitler is top middle with the “x” over his head.