The real problems with mass murderers

Serial killers, mass shooters, knife attackers, bombers, and suicide killers have several things in common.

  • I have read that all use drugs.
  • Most are from homes without a father.
  • They are subjected to some kind of hate information—online, influencers, or in their communities. They are encouraged to carry out attacks, whether actively or generally, through vicious ideologies.
  • Many of the young people committing these crimes train beforehand on video games or in actual physical training grounds.
  • They plan their attacks in detail.
  • Almost all leave behind some kind of evidence that exhibits hatred for their targets. They show an obsession against a group of people.

I don’t want to get into a debate about guns or knives or the means of carrying out these attacks. We don’t seriously believe machetes or kitchen knives are to blame any more than we do the innert materials that go into explosives. So, we’ll leave aside a discussion of weapons in this post.

The sad patterns listed above combine to give us a portrait of a mass murderer. He takes drugs, listens to hate language, and trains himself to kill people.

The root problem, though, is his heart.

I don’t think for one minute that if we erradicated illegal drug use, made sure everyone had a father figure in his life, shut down the dark web, and cleaned up video games—all of these virtually impossible—that we would never have another mass killing in the world. It would be helpful if some of these things were done, but it would not change the fact that there will always be evil people intent on doing harm to others.

Why is there evil?

We only have to read Romans 5. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (verse 12).

That one man was the first man on earth, Adam. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression (14a).

I’m so thankful it doesn’t end there. Read these verses of hope: But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (15, 19-21).

If we could reach young men and women with the gospel—the good news of forgiveness and eternal life available through Jesus Christ—hearts would be changed. Changed hearts result in changed actions. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

I don’t believe that all who hear the gospel will accept the Lord. My opinion is that that we go about trying to fix society’s worst problems in the dumbest ways. Blaming items on the list won’t help.

Only Jesus can change people’s hearts. That is everyone’s biggest need.

Is it ever okay to lie?

Many think so. I mean, what’s wrong with a little bit of misleading communication so that you a surprise party is successful? What’s wrong with lying to the enemy in wartime? It must be okay to tell white lies in order to smooth over a volatile situation, or sell something, or….

Is it ever okay to lie?

My grandmother used to call lies fibs. I thought it was hilarious, because my dad would make sure we children knew she was talking about lying.

Many people think some lies are fine, and other kinds of lies aren’t. Where should a Christian draw the line?

There are several ways the Bible answers this question. After sharing them, we’ll ask some questions at the end. Are you ready?

One of the Ten Commandments (God’s moral law) states, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (Exodus 20:16). This basically prohibits slandering or lying about someone.

Does this prohibit lying altogether?

In my recent study of Proverbs, I came across this passage: These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (6:16-19). Two of the seven abominations are lies. These are things that God hates.

Let’s find the source of lying. Jesus said, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44). From this verse, we see that untruths and lies are straight from the devil, along with murder. The devil is a deceiver, because he began telling lies in the first place. Remember his subtle lies to Eve?

We can contrast lying with the opposite, which is truth.

Jesus is truth. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

The Holy Spirit is truth. Jesus said, But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26).

God the Father is truth. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he (Deuteronomy 32:4).

The Bible is truth. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).

The church represents truth. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

What about mild deceptions? Are they okay when they’re for good reasons, like birthday parties, for example?

It’s interesting to note how many times deceipt is connected to wicked people. In the book of Proverbs, we read:

  • The wicked worketh a deceitful work (11:18).
  • The counsels of the wicked are deceit (12:5b).
  • Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil (12:20a).
  • The folly of fools is deceit (14:8b).
  • Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips (Proverbs 24:28).
  • So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? (26:29) Only kidding!
  • About transgressors: He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin (26:24, 28).

Let’s set up a hypothetical situation. You live in a place in the world where there’s conflict. The enemy comes to the door of your home and asks, “Is your father home?” He is.

If you say yes, the enemy will come in and carry him away. You may never see him again.

If you lie and say no, the enemy will probably come in and look for your father anyhow.

You could keep your mouth closed, refuse to answer, and possibly be mistreated for doing so. That’s another option.

What should you do?

What do you think?

Are lies ever acceptable behavior for a Christian? Do you have a Scripture to back up your opinion?

I would love to have a lively, non-condemning discussion. I reserve the right not to publish unkind comments, but Walking in the Way welcomes honest opinions, both pro and con.  

20 Popular phrases: are they true?

A month ago, we analyzed several popular phrases. (You can access that post here.) Here are twenty more. Enjoy delving into these.

  1. You can do anything you want to do. If you don’t want to do something, you probably never will, but you can’t do anything you put your mind to. For example, I might want to be an astronaut, but my lack of abilities and training—and my age—would rule me out. I might want to be a world-renowned artist, chef, or singer, but I’m not up to that level of expertise. Not everyone has the ability to do everything, even if they want to.
  2. All things work together for good. The whole verse reads, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Always read a Bible verse in its context. This one’s about believers who are living in God’s will. Then, everything works together for eternal good—even if we may not understand what’s happening at the time.
  3. Follow your heart. The worst advice, ever. Emotional decisions are usually wrong. The Bible says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) Jesus said, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matthew 15:19). Thankfully, we can follow God’s guidance. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  4. When someone dies, people say “Rest in peace.” It’s a nice sentiment, but the truth is that departed souls either go to heaven or hell. We don’t exactly know what those in heaven do. Are they resting? Not sure. Praising Jesus? Yes! Hell is awful, a place of torment with no rest at all. This is why it’s vitally important to share the good news of Jesus’ salvation with everyone. When people are bereaved, we need to be especially careful that our speech is true and helpful. Many times, the best thing we can say is, “I am praying for you.” Be there, if you can, and demonstrate that you care.
  5. God isn’t finished with me yet. This one definitely has some truth to it. Any born again Christian finds himself somewhere along in the sanctification process. God hasn’t yet brought him to perfection. That only happens through the merits of Jesus and when one arrives in heaven. The problem is, this sentence is sometimes used as an excuse, which is sad indeed. Our failures aren’t God’s fault ; they’re ours.
  6. Read your Bible, pray every day, and everything will be rosy. Oh yeah? Tell the New Testament apostles and martyrs that one. Tell that to Christians who suffer in jail because of their faith. This has no biblical basis at all. Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
  7. I just sinned; God understands. Yes, God understands our frailties. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). But, excusing sin is never right. God even helps us out of serious temptations—if we’re willing to flee from them. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  8. God won’t let anything bad happen. If that were true, there would be no sin at all in the world. Adam and Eve would never have had the freedom of choice. All through history, bad things have happened, because of sin. The Bible says, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren (James 1:13-16).
  9. Pass this meme on, and God will prosper you. These kinds of statements show our ignorance of the nature of God. Who are we to manipulate God? The mere sharing of a post doesn’t make God do anything. The prosperity gospel concept isn’t biblical, either.
  10. When people die, they turn into angels and look down on us. Angels and departed souls are two totally different created beings. Angels were created as servants of God and messengers to man. They have many different functions, but they are not people. Humans have the opportunity on earth to be saved, but angels can only appreciate salvation from afar. Do departed souls in heaven look down on those on earth? I have my doubts. There is no sorrow or sin in heaven, so I question if they can witness what’s going on in this sinful world. When Jesus related about the man in hell who talked to Abraham (Luke 16), it doesn’t seem like any of them was actually looking down on earth and able to witness what was happening—even to the rich man’s brothers. It’s okay if you differ with me, but I don’t find this happening in the Bible.
  11. You’re safe in the center of God’s will. If you read Hebrews 11, it speaks of exemplary Christians: Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:38). The Bible does not guarantee safety to any Christian. In fact, many suffer for His sake.
  12. If you have enough faith, God will heal you. This is a dangerous teaching, as it’s false and misleading. While the Bible does state that the prayer of faith shall save the sick (James 5:15), it also shares how Paul asked three times that his thorn in the flesh be taken from him, and God refused saying, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Paul’s response was acceptance. He said, Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (1 Corinthians 12:9). It’s not always God’s will to heal.
  13. When you read your Bible or pray, the devil gets scared. I read at least once that the devil sees a godly woman getting out of bed in the morning and says, “Oh no, she’s up!” This might bring a chuckle, but it doesn’t represent truth. The devil fears no one but God. Only God has more power than he.
  14. God made me this way. This is often used as an excuse for personal sins. We should never blame God for our own sinful choices. The truth is that God made us with one purpose: to glorify Him. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).
  15. A single person must still have something to learn from the Lord, therefore they don’t yet have a spouse. This shows a huge misunderstanding of biblical teaching. The Bible clearly talks about singles and married people, both equally in the will of the Lord. Paul even says he wishes everyone would remain single, as he was. (See 1 Corinthians 7:32-40.) The Bible never makes a similar statement to this about singles, and neither should we.
  16. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. The idea comes from Revelation 3:20, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. It is misleading, especially to children, to tell them they need to ask Jesus into their hearts, because children usually think literally. But, someone can be saved by wording their giving of themselves to the Lord this way. Personally, I prefer explaining repentance from sin, understanding that Jesus is the only One who can save, and calling opon Him for salvation. The Bible does refer many times to Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwelling in a born again believer.
  17. God wants you to be rich, so give, and He will give you back many times more than you gave. First, God wants you to be holy. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:16). God does promise to meet our needs. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). This passage is about giving: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38). It’s a general statement that those who give will reap goodwill from others. There isn’t anywhere in Scripture that says God wants people to be rich.
  18. At death, people “cross that chilly River Jordan” over into heaven. A friend actually heard someone say that the reason a man in their church was lingering in a coma was because “he was looking for a shallow place to cross.” The idea of passing over Jordan comes from the Old Testament, where the Israelites were on the verge of crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land, Canaan. It has nothing to do with death. 2 Corinthians 5:8 describes a Christian’s death as being  absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Jesus said to the thief beside Him on the cross, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Nowhere in the Bible does it say people cross a river in death, not even a warm one.
  19. Christians should always be happy. While there are some who give the impression that life is all ha-ha and smiley, you won’t find that in the Bible. It is unreal to deny grief, sorrow, and trials. While a Christian has deep, abiding joy, he doesn’t always have to display a goofy grin across his face. He can be genuine. In fact, Christians are supposed to Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).
  20. You deserve it. Well, no one deserves anything good. The Prophet Ezra prayed, And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this (Ezra 9:13-15). Thank the Lord for His mercy, in spite of our great failings. We are so undeserving!

May the Lord help us all to be careful in our speech and writing and give us discernment. May we always communicate biblical truth.

Again, thank you, girlfriends, for your help in my brainstorming session. You guys are the best!

Have you enjoyed these? Please let me know. Any additional popular phrases you’d like to share? Feel free.