The Devil Next Door

Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

Steve Martin

Steve Martin

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

About a month ago police, Sheriff’s deputies and the SBI swarmed all over a house on Knob Hill in Clemmons, NC. For weeks the police were combing that house, hauling out all kinds of evidence, and looking for everything they could find. You see, the man and woman living in that house had just been charged with the murder of two men and burying them in the back yard. Beyond that they were performing Satanic rituals, had all kinds of satanic symbols all over the interior of their home.

The man had beeDevil worship in clemmonsn in trouble with the law many times, most recently being charged with accessory to manslaughter back in 2010. Perhaps you remember the pictures that covered the news for weeks? The third person was charged with accessory to murder after the fact. The news about this place seem to get worse with every report.

The news is filled with all sorts of evil happenings From Isis, school shootings, everyday murders, to a foster mom sitting her child on the front porch with a dead chicken hanging around his neck, the news just seems to get worse and worse.

After all these horrific events we always say: “What happened? Why did this happen? Couldn’t we have done something to have prevented this tragedy?” Among these questions I also ask: Were these people born with some sort of evil gene that predisposes them to doing bad things even though I have never heard of such a thing? Did something traumatic happen in their lives which caused them to have this disregard for the lives of others? Was there years of abuse or mental illness which lead to this destructive behavior?

There is one more very personal question: “Did I contribute to someone’s good or bad behavior by the way I treated them?” I know there are some people who are beyond what we can do, but that does not excuse us from treating ALL people with respect, dignity and compassion.

The story is told of Mahatma Gandhi, the renowned leader of the people of India, in seeking to overthrow British colonial rule of his native land, was an avid reader. Although a Hindu, in his quest for freedom, he read the four Christian Gospels. He wanted to know more about Jesus of Nazareth. In his reading of the Gospels, Gandhi was impressed with this man whom Christians worship and follow. Where could he find out more about this Jesus whom Christians refer to as “the Christ – the Messiah?”

One Sunday morning Gandhi decided that he would visit one of the Christian churches in Calcutta. Upon seeking entrance to the church sanctuary, he was stopped at the door by the ushers. The ushers told him that he was not welcome, nor would he be permitted to attend this particular church as it was for ‘high caste’ Indians and ‘whites’ only. He was neither ‘high caste’ nor was he British. Because of the rejection by this church, ‘the Mahatma’ turned his back on Christianity. With this act, Gandhi rejected the Christian faith, never again to consider the claims of Christ! He was ‘turned-off’ by the sin of segregation that was practiced by the church. Gandhi later declared, “I’d be a Christian if it were not for the Christians!”Bust_of_Mahatma_Gandhi,_Saughton_Park,_Edinburgh_(1997)

I wonder how people are affected by the lives we live before them and how we treat each other? Does our daily treatment of ALL people bring people to Christ or drive them away from Christ? Does our living facilitate healing and wholeness or do we leave scars and wounds by words and actions?

Dear Lord, everyday there are people watching us, following us, looking to us for some word or act of kindness and acceptance. Help us to be the people who live in such a way that others see Christ living through us. In and through Jesus. Amen.

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