Sikh Temple shooting and what is in a man

Someone asked me if I would write about the Sikh Temple shooting that occurred in Wisconsin two days ago. Here it is, but it not in the way that you might think.

First, the facts: An Army vet took a gun and began shooting people who were at worship in an Oak Creek WI Sikh Temple. He killed 6 people and wounded four, before being shot and killed himself by police. Just 16 days before the Wisconsin attack, a lone gunman had entered a movie theater and shot and killed 12 people and wounding dozens more. In between these two horrific shootings, a woman who had been aboard a Detroit Riverboat partying, was involved in an altercation, and as the boat docked, disembarked and returned to shoot, striking seven people, critically injuring one. She is still at large.

President Obama said of the Sikh Temple shooting, "These kinds of terrible and tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not do some soul-searching and examine additional ways that we can prevent such violence..."

There are three items in the quote to consider. First, he said these kinds of terrible tragedies are occurring more often. That is true. The second comment of note is that he said we need to do some soul-searching. This is also true. Thirdly, he said that we need to examine ways to prevent such violence in the future. This is also true but it will never happen as long as man searches his soul and fails to turn it over to Jesus.

Sin starts in the mind.

I want us to really think about the interior state of man and how God knows what it is.

Sin begins with a thought. "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly." (Mark 7:21-22).

"Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:14-15).

Sin begins inside us in the heart and mind, and then it is given birth when we speak the thing, and then the action follows. Anyone who has worked in the Good News Club knows we tell the kids of the progression of sin in this way: "Sin is anything we think, say, or do that displeases God." Think-say-do.

Shootings like the Aurora Theater in Colorado or the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin don't 'just happen.' The perpetrator was thinking about it first, and for a long time, too.

If we are seeing these sinful acts happen more and more frequently, imagine how much more people are thinking about them, first. The acting out is the last stage of the progression. The visible heinous act is only the tip of the iceberg to the heinous acts that occur in the mind. Floating icebergs have a significant proportion of their mass below the surface of the water. When we say "This problem is just the tip of the iceberg," what we are really saying is "A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden." If the evident part is getting bigger every day, how much larger of a problem is the hidden part? (Definition and unmodified photo from Wiki).

John MacArthur wrote about The Danger of a Sinful Mind. He said,

"Many people who will not do evil deeds are nevertheless boldly evil in their thoughts. A man who abstains from fornication for fear of getting caught might convince himself it is all right to indulge in salacious fantasies because he thinks no one else will ever discover such a private sin. The sins he deliberately entertains in his mind may be a thousand times more evil than anything he would ever think of doing before others. Scripture says his guilt is the same as if he acted out his fantasies." (Matthew 5:27‑28).

So you can imagine if people are doing evil deeds almost daily how deeply depraved the thought-life of people on earth is getting.

MacArthur continued: "In fact, nothing damages the conscience more than the habit of indulging in evil thoughts. Unfortunately, once begun, the practice becomes all too easy. This is a sin that does not have to wait for an opportunity; the mind can sin anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. So the habit is quickly and easily established. By engaging the inner faculties—mind, emotions, desire, memory, and imagination—thought sins work directly on the soul to bias it toward evil."

Now, the LORD said in Matthew 24 that the days just prior to His coming will be like the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). So...what were the days of Noah like?

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). [Emphasis mine.]

Everybody is going around thinking evil all the time. We can't tell, only Jesus can see what is in a man. (John 2:25). But when we see such evil deeds being acted out, you know that proportionally, that many more men's thoughts are evil. And if the deeds are happening frequently, we know that the evil thoughts are continual.

The good news is that if you are saved, and have had sinful thoughts, if you repent, He will forgive you! Then, guard your thought life!!!

And if you are not saved, Jesus will forgive you when you repent, and all your sins will be forgotten by Him. No matter what you have thought, or said, or done, He will forgive it. He is THAT GOOD.

There are two takeaways to this blog entry:

1. So when we see the Sikh Temple shooting, I don't want us just to go 'tsk tsk, that poor unsaved man'. I want us to see ourselves in him. Understand that without Jesus we all have the capability to perform those acts, whether they remain in our mind or whether we act on them. We are all sinners. None is righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10). We all need to repent, saved or unsaved. The unsaved need to repent unto salvation, the saved need to repent to keep thoughts pure for a more pleasing relationship with the Savior.

2. He is near. Personally, I see the nearness of Jesus' return not just because of the terrible acts we are now seeing on a weekly and almost daily basis, but because I know that for every shooting done, there are a hundred thousand who thought about shooting. For every Pastor who confesses to an adulterous affair with a minor, there are a thousand more who thought about it. Genesis 6 says that judgment came not only when the evil was present on the earth but when the evil thoughts were continuous in man. Re-read the verse- it's two parts. How closely does this sinful world's thought-life match the level of depravity Jesus said we'd sink to just prior to His coming? I don't know, but Jesus does. Are you ready for Him?


  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    This is one of the best posts I have read. The Lord has given you quite the message to share here!
    When I look at the picture of the iceburg, I see just how big God's love is...If He can see all of that in us, and still love us, and patiently wait to unleash His judgements on those who remain unrepentant...WoW~ That's a huge heart our Lord has! If we could see the whole man, and not just what is above surface...would we be able to love anyone? This too is God's love manifested in us; if we can love only what is seen~ that is human, but loving in spite of the knowledge of the true state of our fellow man~ that is agape love!
    We can only pray that people will see the sin in their own life, and repent before the Lord calls us up...But only God knows when that number of souls will be complete.
    God is bigger than the Titanic and the only true omnipotent vessel, who can (and will) obliterate each and every iceburg without sustaining any damage Himself...(just a little analogy fun)
    ~God bless~

  2. Thanks Elizabeth for a helpful post. How about one on guarding our thoughts? I have a hard time with this.

    1. Thanks for reading. Okey dokey, that is a great topic. I'll pray and study and see what the Spirit says about how to approach this. A practical post on such an important topic would be good for all of us, including me.


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