All Violence and No Compassion: Bystander Syndrome or Indwelling Sin?

In the course of the last couple of months, I have seen a rash of violence and a lack of compassion like I have yet to witness in my life. Perhaps, I have been hidden from it. But our country has become that wicked land numbered with Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, who having witnessed the mighty works of God revealed in and through Jesus Christ, did not repent because of them. But have we not also witnessed the glory of God in the face of Christ as given to us in the Word of God; and do not men preach the pure Gospel in almost every corner of this nation?

But in these past months, I have seen an overflow of indwelling sin in a manner most disturbing and burdening to me:

1. In Florida, eight young teenagers, six of them young girls attack one girl, taking turns throwing haymakers, leaving the girl partially blind, deaf, and broken – and the videotaped it for public viewing! No compassion became them.

2. On the campuses of Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois, gunmen took lives without remorse.

3. Members of an FLDS sect are vindicated despite evidence that young girls, even to the age of 13, had been married to much older men, and slept with, while other children were found to have untreated broken bones.

4. A couple of days ago, I came unto a story of a mother, who having murdered her three year-old daughter in 1979, had kept the deceased child in her closet at home for over twenty years!

5. And then yesterday, a 78 year old man was the unfortunate recipient of this hit and run (continue with caution; this is extremely graphic, but a shocking portrayal of the inward reality of the fruit of indwelling sin; here the fruit is violence and a complete lack of love and compassion or moral compass involving severl people). For those of you just interested in the story (and my take on the news affiliates commentary) continue reading:

First, that the car committing the crime was crossing a double yellow line; second, that he sped off without hesitating; thirdly, how many cars continue to pass him by while he lies motionless on the street; fourthly, how many people stand idly by; fifthly, that one car coming his way stops in the road, reverses and goes the other way without a care; sixthly, a man on a moped circles the man and then leaves the scene. Absolutely no concern for human life, and of course, this is where we are today in America. This is not shocking to me, but affirming to me what I read in the Bible. How do news affiliates deal with our lack of compassion in this video? They call it “Bystander Syndrome.” Bystander Syndrome? They even gave a three step process that everyone goes through when they witness something like this: First, they assimilate what they’ve witnessed, then they go through the “diffusion of responsibility”, and lastly, they decide that they are not able to help due to lack of training! What they deem “bystander syndrome”, I deem indwelling sin! I think this is a more accurate portrayal of the inward case, though not an intense one. This picture comes courtesy of bible.org:

This is the perfect portrayal:

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness…All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one…Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes,” Romans 1:28-29, 3:12, 15-18.

And this is a call to Gospel mobilization. How can we who so often sit lazily and comfortably in our pews continue to do so without the slightest hint of burden for people who are dead in trespasses and sins, knowing that God is willing and able (and Him alone) to raise sinners from the miry clay? Did he not do this for you also? Oh, that “Christians” in America would stop telling themselves that everything is “fine”, that we are “so blessed spiritually in this nation”, and the true Church would again take up its Cross – in America! That this nation would be ground zero of a God-Awakening!

Let the Church, then, take up their Sword. Let us slay men and this nation with the Gospel; that is, let us, by the grace of God, preach the Gospel of Christ, of repentance towards God and of faith in Jesus Christ. Let our obedience be full and missionary in its activity. Let us not rely on stupid psychological babble as a means of explaining away plain sin, but instead, let us expose sin for what it is, and the eternal consequences of it, in the heralding of a pure Gospel, and then, let us turn them to the love and comfort of Christ who, Himself, we viciously crucified because, in part, He wasn’t like us in our sinful ways, though He became us, and our sinful ways on the cross of His passion. May God help us in our endeavor, for nothing will be accomplished lest He grant it, and let us pray to the Lord of the harvest for this nation and its state of depravity, that God will not forsake us in holy wrath but be that which He is continuously as well- gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. Brothers, today, bear Gospel arms; arise, preach the Gospel, love one another, love unbelievers, push forward for the faith of the Gospel. Our state is not one to discourage us, for Christ has already won – He is Christus Victor! Therefore, in view of God’s grace upon our own previous rebellion, His love for us in Christ, His mercy cast upon us in the laver of regeneration while we all were yet sinners, let us all the more go with the Gospel in the authority of Christ, for perhaps God will relent and bear spiritual children for Christ’s sake and for His glory. May it be so in Christ’s name, Amen.

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