I was having breakfast today with my pastor and another buddy from church. We were talking about Dedrick Bonhoeffer and the stand he took against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s during WWII. As a pastor, Bonhoeffer chose to actively opposed Hitler and was implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler. We were discussing the Christian moral implications of that over coffee.

The discussion then went down a rabbit trail as these kinds of conversations do and we began discussing Pol-Pot and other dictators and why they did what they did. I made the point that without the Holy Spirit, we’d all be Pol-Pot and Hitler and name-your-dictator, and we’d all be willing to do heinous things to get rid of people we didn’t like or who opposed us.

When I got home, I opened my Facebook feed and read about the poor mentally challenged guy who was kidnapped in Chicago by four African-American youths and was tortured physically, emotionally, and verbally.

I’ve been reading a lot of commentary on the topic ranging from Shaun King of the NY Daily News to James T. Harris, a prominent speaker. Both King and Harris are African-Americans, but are pretty much diametrically opposed politically with King being on the left and Harris being on the right. I’ve also read commentary by politicians, news organization talking heads, and everyday Americans on Facebook.

To a person, they are speaking about whether this is a hate crime based on race and then turning the discussion into a race debate by hypothesizing what would happen if the victim had been black and the perpetrators white instead of the other way around.

All this, however, misses the point.

It really doesn’t matter if the act was somehow motivated by race or not. Nor does it matter which color of skin the victim and the perpetrators have. That is all red herring to hide the real problem.

Like the rest of the world, America’s problem is not race but the lack of the Holy Spirit indwelling our lives.

Let me put it another way: Men will do the cruelest and most heinous things to each other so long as they reject God and His ways.

Do you really think it’s a coincidence that as America gets farther and farther away from being a Christian nation we grow farther and farther apart from each other, separating ourselves into groups who do nothing but fight with one another both verbally and physically? As the cry for tolerating diversity rages, we forget that God calls us to be homogenous in following Him! Let me land on that for a second.

God does not care what color your skin is, what political party you support, your views on the environment, whether you eat meat or not, if you’re a gun owner or not, whether you’re a man or a woman, whether you’re a cop or a criminal, whether your rich or poor, or even if you voted for Hillary or Trump! God created every one of us in HIS image and His expectation is we all follow His ways together.

Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit – which hovered over the waters during creation in Genesis and was there since the beginning – to help us be like Jesus and to convict us when we want to do wrong. The plan is we all love one another and work together, not separate ourselves by arbitrary names, labels, beliefs, and worldly measuring sticks.

However, we are too proud to do as God commands. Instead we think our ways are right and God’s ways are wrong. We believe being separate and tolerant except to the things we personally find intolerable is better than God commanding us to be of one mind in serving Him.

How’s that working out for you, America?

There is more hate and discontent in this country today than there has been since the Civil War – another period where people rejected God’s plan in favor of their own interpretation of God’s word.

Without the Holy Spirit, not just in our lives but controlling our lives, we are indeed all Hitler waiting for our opportunity to abuse someone in the name of our favorite cause. Every day on Facebook, I read comments about people hating other people, and accusing other people of misdeeds, and questioning others motives, and news stories about murder, rape, kidnapping, torture, terrorism, theft, lying and more. And many of these posts come from people who self-identify as Christians!!  

Have you forgotten that if we hate our brother the love of Jesus is not in us? Have you forgotten God’s commandments? Have you forgotten Jesus’ words that we are to love God and love each other and then all the rest of the laws and commandments will fall in place? Have you forgotten we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Have we completely erased God from our everyday lives?

As we were talking this morning, my buddy shared that he’s been studying the book of Revelation. He mentioned that Revelation says when the day of judgment comes it will be like in the days of Noah. Do you remember how things were back then? Right – man’s rebellion had gotten so bad that God had to kill every single living thing He created in an effort to get man to do things His way through his righteous servant Noah and his family.

America – you are working really hard to get to that place again. The place where nobody is righteous, not one. God will not be mocked.

What happened in Chicago isn’t about race; it’s about evil. And it’s an evil we are allowing to happen because we refuse to follow God. This evil is spreading steadily across our land whether it be police brutality, hate crimes, violence against law enforcement, injustice in our court system, violence against women, and our general disdain for “those” people. We have, indeed, met the enemy and the enemy is ourselves!

And Satan.

Today’s news is tragic. But isn’t every day’s news? The question is not whether or not evil exists and will perpetuate itself against innocents. The question is as Christians what are we willing to do about it? Are we simply going to fall into the trap of euphemizing it in some worldly way, thus throwing more gas on an already burning fire? Or will we stand up in one voice and call it evil regardless of race and all the rest and fight evil through the power of the Holy Spirit with love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and evangelism?

Our country is sliding down the slippery slope of apostasy. For God to act, His people must act first. For things to change, we need the transformational power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. And for that to happen, we Christians must engage our culture powerfully with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. For me, I will be praying for the victim of this latest sensational tragedy, as well as for the perpetrators who have been blinded by Satan to commit ungodly acts. I’ll also be praying for all those out there arguing about race and hate and asking God to open their eyes to the truth – there is evil in this world that is not based on the color of one’s skin but comes from Satan. We as the image-bearers of God must fight together – black, white, red, brown, yellow, and yes, even rainbow.

That is the only way we can defeat evil and we must harness and use the power of the Holy Spirit that God has given us to do this work.