I haven’t had much time to read about Wade Michael Page, the man who carried out the shooting rampage at the Sihk Temple in Wisconsin. But I do know that he was an active participant in the “hate music movement”, and fairly closely tied to the white supremacist movement. Hate particularly of non whites seems to have fueled his murderous actions, along with the growing rage he had about how non whites are taking over the world (in his opinion).
Much of the focus in the media of his actions were on the guns he used. Few seem to be focusing on the sinful passions that caused him to purchase and use the guns.
Anger and rage is an increasing problem in our society as hopelessness grows – primarily due to our stagnant economy, and our idolatrous obsession with our material comfort and pleasure.
Jesus Christ says that as the end and His return draws near, “…many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) Hate and rage are two sides of a coin. It will get easier and easier to get drawn into this awful sickness as things in our society continue to shake.
Most of us probably know people that seem hopelessly caught in this web of hate and rage. Some times we may feel they are beyond help and will never turn around. But I would remind you of one of the most hateful and angry men in the last 2,000 years – the apostle Paul (formerly named Saul). This man was a Christian hater and he went to great lengths to find and imprison and even help murder Christians. Luke (author of the book of Acts, which is the historical account of the first century church’s founding and expansion) said of Paul in ch. 7 vs. 58, that the people who were stoning Stephen “….laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Ch. 8 vs. 1 says, “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.” Vs. 3 says of him, “But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.” None of these people committed any crimes nor did any of them slight Saul in any way. But he was filled with rage at them and devoted his life to stamping out their lives. It was while Saul was “…still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, (9:1) that Jesus Christ one day appeared to him on the road to Damascus. You can read the rest of the story in ch. 9. But Saul out of that encounter with the risen Christ became an absolutely transformed man, and anger and rage and hatred became a thing of the past.
Reflecting on this story has given me great hope as I pray for people in our region whom I know are in chains to the sin of anger, hatred and racism. In the meantime the scriptures hold great promise for those who allow Him to rid them of this destructive disease. For instance, Proverbs 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick tempered exalts folly.” Also Prov. 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than who he captures a city.”
Jesus Christ came to set the captives free, and I be one of those whom He set free from the destructive chains of anger. I leave you with more wisdom from King Solomon, “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9