The Cost of Choice

It was not too long ago that I wrote about five responses people have to natural disasters. All too soon, another disaster has occurred in our country, but by another means: by an individual.

As of last night, over 50 people have been killed and hundreds have been wounded after a mass shooting from out of a hotel room. Shots were pointed towards a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

As people ask 'why' this time around, we need to go back in time.

Ever since the beginning of humankind's rebellion, all people have had a choice. In fact, one of the first choices someone made was to murder (Genesis 4:8). 

I get a little fed up with people who beat the 'God is in control' drum so loud that they attribute God as the cause behind all evil, the one who is actively 'controlling His puppets'. 

Again, as mentioned in my other post, Jesus wouldn't have needed to do anything on the earth if God's will was already being done. If that was already the case, He wouldn't have rebuked the storm, healed the sick, raised the dead, or cast out demons. None of it was needed if God was the cause behind everything (good and evil) that had happened. Thus, it would follow that none of what we do is necessarily needed.

So what is the cause behind evil? People's rebellion against God: Sin. Choosing our own way and what we think is best instead of signing up for what God knows is best. 

The first murder was done out of jealousy. Cain was wicked at heart, and God knew his heart when he offered his sacrifice. God knew that if it wasn't accepted, he would be jealous and kill his brother. Cain led a wicked life before this act of violence, as we read elsewhere (1 John 3:12), so this wasn't a surprise to God, he saw the evil pattern of Cain's life that led up to the intentional killing of his brother. 

The problem that arises is when we are faced with the question, 'Why did God allow Cain to kill Abel?' Well friends, that is the cost of choice. 

The cost of freely choosing good is freely choosing evil.
The cost of freely choosing love is freely choosing hate. 
The cost of freely choosing God's interests is freely choosing our own interests.
The cost of freely choosing God's kingdom cause is freely choosing the world's cause. 
The cost of freely choosing a relationship with God through Jesus is freely choosing a plethora of other belief systems. 
The cost of freely choosing God is freely choosing Satan.

This was the case last night in Las Vegas, Nevada. Only a couple of blocks away from the Tropicana hotel, where I stayed when playing with the CU basketball band a couple years back, a man capable of freely choosing life freely chose death. Now that one man's free choice has tainted that area, it will ever be thought of differently. 

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not enough justice in this case, so no one in this life will be satisfied with this outcome of the one man's death for the sake of hundreds of people being wounded and over 50 people killed. Rest assured, as Abel’s blood called out from the earth towards the ears of God, so these people who have been killed have been heard by God (Gen 4:10). In due time, the Lord will set up His kingdom and all who cry out for justice will receive it in ways that cannot always be accomplished in this life. 

In the meantime, God actively works in our hearts and lives through tragedy, bringing people together, providing comfort, and uniting all people around a similar cause. 

God did not choose death and evil. We did, and it’s a miracle that God is still dealing with us through it. In fact, people still choose death and evil every day in different ways. Some ways that people choose death and evil affect more people than others, but all people need the goodness of God in their lives through believing in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. 

This is our only hope for truly inward-changed lives: for God to point people towards the right choices through entering into their hearts. To not be reliant on hearing a sermon, reading a blog post, or watching a video in order to do good, but to know the right way and walk in it through God’s Spirit, by prayer and by reading God’s Word. 

To walk in God’s ways (see especially Matthew 5-7) is only possible through God Himself. Let it be so in Jesus' name.