The Fear of the Lord

I came back to my car last night to discover that the side of my car had been dented. This is the second time something like this has happened in a year. And just like last time: no note. Hit and run.

This is small potatoes compared to some of the other crime around here. There have been seven shootings on our main freeway (Interstate 80) just this year, the last one last night. One of the people shot was a toddler. No arrests have been made.

Not counted in the seven figure is the Berkeley elementary school teacher who was shot in January of this year while driving on city streets to pick up her son in Richmond. She has been critically wounded and maimed by being shot in her face.(1)

Now you would think that people would be talking about this, that there would be a public outcry. But no. Very little is discussed, and, in fact, bringing up the topic of the massacre of the innocents only yields platitudes. When I mentioned it to one friend, she said, “It’s the drug culture in this country.”

I’m not exactly sure what that means. If a law-abiding fellow in Idaho owns guns for protection or for hunting, does that somehow compel a person in Richmond (or Oakland or Berkeley) to open fire on freeway drivers? And when did a “culture” somehow become culpable for carnage?

But that would be common sense, something surely lacking in progressive areas like Berkeley. It’s never about personal responsibility. The blame is always laid on the “culture,” “society,” etc. etc.

And a society cannot survive if it doesn’t insist that people take responsibility for their actions. No wonder, then, that the United States is hanging by a tattered thread. The refrain, “It’s not my fault,” is the whining slogan of children, of immature adults, and of those who have been brainwashed to believe that they are always and forever victims.

If you’ve had children you know that kids remain kids until the adults insist that they take responsibility for their bad behavior. But in Berkeley, Oakland, etc. etc. the enablers continually make excuses for crime; they justify and legitimize their own victimization. Ironically and tragically, the teacher in Berkeley who was shot in the face has been part of an agenda — at her school and everywhere else — that inadvertently promoted her own mutilation.

Many of us know where this insane criminality and denial are coming from — the liberal agenda that’s been pushed and shoved on us since the l960s. The agenda benefits many people — the wealthy book writers and professors; those who make five figures giving talks at college campuses; the gargantuan welfare state; and those who make a bundle promoting social justice training. The losers? The American people, especially those of us in the liberal cities, where we are being preyed upon in droves by those who feel entitled to wreck havoc on the deluded.

But the cause of the bloodshed goes much deeper than this. It resides in a culture that has lost its belief in God. Perhaps more profoundly, the mayhem is ever present in people who have lost their healthy fear of the Lord, something that the human beings have had in almost all civilizations for at least two thousand years (hence, the overflowing church attendance prior to the 1960s).

Another example of the loss of this fear of God: there have been a spate of truly demonic crimes at many local churches around here. One was horribly desecrated. Another had many valuable and sacred items stolen or destroyed. Yet another church was recently burglarized during a Mass, with a lot of money stolen. Another, just a few weeks ago was robbed during Mass, having its collection baskets absconded. And I just heard of a churchgoer who last week had her car stolen in broad daylight in a busy parking lot during her church services.

Back in the day, criminals would not have dared to knock off a church. They would have been too scared. It was around that idyllic time period, that they also would not shoot police officers. But now shooting cops is a frequent horror show, with even some politicians exonerating the practice using the same enabling machinations.

But the truth is that God is real. And so is heaven. But the same goes for hell.

And God is incredibly loving and patient and merciful with His fallen and pathetic creatures. However, He also allows human beings free will to choose their fates. If it is unbelief, rebellion, and violence, those humans will bear the consequences — perhaps not in this lifetime, since appropriate punishment in this country is, tragically, rare — but after death. It’s called “Judgment.”

That’s one of the reasons why the Bible states that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear means healthy anxiety but also a profound sense of awe, at how small we are compared to the power of the Almighty.

To think that we can act horribly towards other people without repercussions is the ultimate in ignorance. To understand that we have been made to adore and worship God and to do His will is the beginning of wisdom.

I sometimes wonder: if people understood that hell is real, would they stop their sinfulness? Or would they continue being wicked because they despise God so much that they don’t want to spend eternity with Him?

 The latter is a shocking thought. But, for many people, I think that it might be true. I remember the lyrics of Billy Joel’s devilish song, “Only the Good Die Young.” The songwriter boasts, “They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait. Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.”

Apparently, Billy Joel has made his choice. What will be yours?

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Note:

1. There were also shootings last week in Berkeley, with several people critically injured. I won’t even go into what it’s like in Oakland. . or SF, for that matter.

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