Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.
Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…
Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…
These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.
I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.
What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.
However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.
God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.
The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.
I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.
I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart.
A sweet friend of mine with a true, genuine soul raises chickens (lots of them) and then proceeds to disperse their eggs to single women or needy families. Recently she asked if I knew anyone who could benefit from receiving those eggs.
Sure!.. I thought, this should be easy…but as I began to ponder and rally through the mental list of those I know, no one came to mind…I soon realized I’m not making conscious relationships with people who are truly in need and lacking the things that my family takes for granted on a daily basis. God has blessed my family exceedingly and abundantly and perhaps it’s because He longs to see the trueness of our hearts and how we will use our blessings from Him to serve and care for others who go without.
I’m overwhelmed and challenged by the thought. My heart breaks as I identify the selfishness rooted in me, but it pulls at the core of my heartstrings in a way that I know things need to change in my life and the world I live in.
I substitute teach in public schools and volunteer as a leader in our church youth group, I’m “aware” of these children who are living in undeserving situations and yet I don’t know or have a devoted friendship with them or their families outside of the school or youth group. I may even see them out and about in my small town and at best I wave, smile, or maybe give them a “hi”.
I’m convinced that what I’m missing is the key ingredients to building a trustworthy relationship with others that ultimately shows love and points to Christ— being present and showing support, attending ball games and other events, conversing with someone even when it isn’t convenient to my schedule, creating a repeat connection in the lives of my community members and building trust—that right there is truly loving your neighbor as yourself, as God has called His believers to do.
That is what Jesus modeled as He mentored His disciples, visited with sinners, healed the lame, and then gave up His life on the cross demonstrating sacrificial love for us. When those types of behaviors are practiced and desired in our lives and are engrained deep within our hearts then we will see change for a better world and ultimately for God’s glory and purpose.
Oh that I would love like Jesus loves. I’m raising kids in this sickening world and anyone doing the same should be ever so concerned with their safety and well-being.
I truly am beginning to see and realize that when consideration is taken for others― relationships grow, friendships build, and love flourishes, but without the first step of acknowledging others needs and desires for communicative relationships we will continue to over-populate “Sin City” and experience the effects in our own heart.
I wish everyone would feel the hurt I feel and that as a result people would embrace change and purposefully seek to serve others in tangible life-changing ways for a better today, tomorrow, and for the future of the next generations to come and until Christ returns to do away with “Sin City” forever….
I know this was a long post, but God has really laid this on my heart…and I’m passionate about seeing a change in our world for His glory…
If you feel lead to create a clean heart, seeking God’s will, you can begin by asking God to forgive your “Sin City” heart and invite Him to be Lord over your life…
Prayer: God, I admit I have been wrong in not awknowledging a need to serve others. I trust in you and want to commit my life to your ways, not the things of this world. Thank you for sending your Son as the perfect example of how life should be done. Thank you that your love for me is greater than my mistakes. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross is more than enough to cover my sins and His resurrection proves victory over death. Please forgive me and help me to live my life for you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so I may be lead by your will, not my own. Through Jesus’ name I pray- Amen.
If you have just prayed that prayer genuinely, congratulations, angels are rejoicing over you in Heaven (Luke 15)!!! Yes, you will still stumble at times, but God’s Holy Spirit is with you—to pick you up and comfort you and lead you every step of the way. Draw near to God through prayer and reading His word and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion- how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:16-17