TEACH ME, O LORD, TO LOVE
A Prayer for Help
by Eric Elkin
On my drive home from work on Tuesday, an NPR reporter was interviewing Bill Gates. Earlier in the year, Bill and Melinda Gates announced their foundation would start focusing on issues of poverty. I missed some of the interview, but what I did catch was Gates stating, “This is the greatest time to be alive.” He rightfully cited statistics on crime, unemployment and economic health over the past couple of decades.
Twenty-four hours later, the same radio station was reporting a different story. 17 people massacred in a Florida high school. According to the gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, it was the 18th school shooting this academic year. It is sick to think the only school massacre with a greater death toll happened in an elementary school.
Note: We need to stop calling these events “School Shootings,” like the victims are nothing more than targets in a shooting range. They are massacres, the indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.
Bill Gates was not wrong in his assessment this is a great time to be alive. However, despite every reason to be hopeful, optimistic and thankful; we are angry, vengeful and empty. The truth we proclaim is simple. At this time in our culture, we are protecting the right to kill our neighbor as an expression of freedom. Changing the truth of this statement will require both legislative and spiritual changes. Laws which do not capture the spirit and will of the people are difficult to enforce.
Consider for a moment Prohibition. The alcohol crisis in the early 20th Century was worse than today’s opioid crisis. We were drinking ourselves to death. It was destroying families, leaving children orphaned and giving rise to a crippling level of poverty. Created with the best of intentions, it took more than a law to curb the problem.
We feed our children hatred and violence like it is Cheerios. Consider for a moment how much of your entertainment revolves around death and killing. Then consider how often a person solves the problem with a gun. In the entertainment world, does anyone ever suffer remorse from shooting or killing a person? Do we ever promote negotiation and diplomacy?
The truth is, many of the worlds most seismic changes began in prayer. The most enduring did not involve guns. These actions changed not only the laws but the hearts and will of the people. The leaders of these movements understood something. A truth I believe we’ve lost. Salvation was not just a reward gained in another life, but a reality to be lived in this life.
Psalm 25 is a prayer for help. The intensity of the prayer increases with each verse. At the center of the psalm is the core message, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness” These are what the Lord gives and what the Lord expects us to share as well. Love and faithfulness is the heart from which hope is pumped out into the world.
Click to read: Psalm 25: 1-10
- What can we do as a culture to stop these acts of destruction?
- What can you do personally to influence change?
- How will you bring about this change in yourself?
- How can or cannot faith bring about change?