You probably heard the news about the killings near Atlanta, Georgia recently. On Tuesday, March 16, a young man took a gun and killed eight women in massage parlours near the city. Six of the women are described as ‘Asian’ and apparently they were from Korea. The man with the gun claimed to be a Christian and attended a Baptist church.
It’s a terrible event. It’s also complicated. The man with the gun claimed that he has a sex addiction and he was trying to remove temptation. The victims were all female, and most were Korean, and apparently most of them were older than forty, or even fifty. They were at work when someone came in with a gun.
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That seems simple, but in the morality of our times, there is now a hunt for someone to blame. The victims were all women, and the killer might hate women. That would be a feminist interpretation. The victims were mostly ‘Asian’ and there are rumours of racist attacks on people who are somehow associated with China.
The idea is that people are frustrated with COVID restrictions, and they blame China for the problem. We know that the COVID virus came from Wuhan, in China. The President of the United States made a statement about racism against Asian people.
There are stories in the news about Chinese people being assaulted in some cities. I don’t think this has happened where I live, but I have heard the stories, and there are surveillance videos. Possibly the killer in Atlanta thought his Korean victims were Chinese.
This is all speculation; we don’t know the killer’s motivation, and we might not know for years. What we can know is that we live in a blame culture, also known as a cancel culture. It is important to blame someone, or some group, and possibly to extend the blame a large political group. Politics are very divided these days and blame is a useful tool.
There is advice for us from the person of Jesus “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged …” (Matthew 10: 16 and 17) We live in dangerous times, and we need to be wise about that.
The young man with the gun was a member of a Christian church, and he talked to the police, later, about temptation to sin. He said was trying to remove temptation from his life when he killed those people. It all sounds very religious, and it’s easy to see how a story might be developed about evil secrets among Christians. Blame could go that way.
In the Communist Soviet Union, the government did not like Christians, and they did their best to damage their reputations. They spread the rumour that Pentecostal Christians sacrificed babies in their communion services, and that crazy idea has continued until today, in Russia.
Of course that never happened, but the seeds were planted, and the weeds grew. I heard a Pentecostal leader from Russia, and he told us that people are nervous about saying what church they go to, and they are really shy to say that they were at a communion service.
The killings in Georgia, by one man, have the potential to damage the reputations Christians everywhere.
For that reason, Christians everywhere should appreciate the boldness of the leaders in Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia. The man with the gun was a member. They made a public statement saying the “extreme and wicked act is nothing less than rebellion against our Holy God and His Word.” I think they understood the potential for damaging rumours, and they made a bold statement. They spoke loud enough to be heard in all the shouting and blaming. They showed courage.
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There is a time and a place for believers to be bold. People might mock our beliefs, but we need to be clear about who we are. We need to be wise in this wicked world. In a blame and cancel culture, saying nothing and dodging criticism could let the rumours fly, and the weeds grow.
Our family used to belong to a Pentecostal church, and that’s where I heard the speaker from Russia. We are not there now only because we moved, and it’s too far to drive. I miss my good friends there, and one of them was a Korean man. He moved from Korea, with his family, and he was very clear with us; Christians need to be bold. He could see the shyness and avoidance of criticism in Christians in North America, and he knew that was a bad idea.
If you are wondering, I have often attended communion services in that Pentecostal church, and they were simple and honest ceremonies. The ugly Communist rumours are completely fake.
My Korean friend was telling us to follow our instructions. We have to get this right:
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. (Ephesians 5: 10 to 14)