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The Harvest of Blame

The senseless slaughter at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, has sparked considerable debate in our society. Human nature being what it is, we're desperately trying to blame someone (or something) for these senseless acts that have been committed by fellow humans. It's easier for us to deal with these situations when we can firmly and decisively blame someone else, even if that blame is undeserved. Some are blaming the existence of firearms in our society, arguing that guns should be outlawed, thereby preventing future acts of violence. Others blame the assailants' parents for not noticing their hobbies of sawing off shotgun barrels and building bombs. Still others blame the computer killing game "Doom," which, they say, trained the two young men to become cold-blooded killers.

When I look at the situation, and America's reaction to it, I see a farmer standing in a field of ripe, mature soybeans ready for harvest. The farmer is angry and frustrated, because he doesn't want soybeans in his field-he wants cotton. Cotton prices are high, soybean prices are low, and he's standing out in the middle of his bean field, yelling and fussing and jumping around, cussin' those soybean plants and trying to convince them to become cotton plants.

The farmers in our readership know how silly that would look. Our farmer has a field full of soybean plants, because he planted soybeans there. If he had wanted cotton, he should have planted cotton-but in the Spring, when he planted the field, he thought soybeans were a better crop. Now, he's going to harvest soybeans, no matter how much he wants the field to be filled with cotton. Just as Paul told the Galatians, "A man reaps what he sows."

Blame whomever you will; there is still an underlying truth that cries out to be heard: It's harvest time for America, and America is, indeed, "reaping what we have sown." We have raised a generation of children who have been mentored by the "one eyed babysitters"-TV, video games, and computers-whose role models are fantasy characters and day care workers, whose weary mothers and fathers have pursued "success" as defined by our society, only to find its promise of satisfaction to be hollow and empty. We have abandoned the barbaric concept of discipline, in the name of "building self esteem." We have educated our children in schools where prayer-even voluntary prayer-is forbidden, and the very mention of the reality of God can cause a good teacher's career to come to an abrupt halt. We have taught our children that there are no absolutes, removing anything resembling a solid foundation for living, and taught them to "seek their own reality" at a time in their development when they don't even know what reality looks like. We have devalued human life by making it easy and legal for girl to kill her unborn baby for the sake of convenience. We have bombarded our children with images of violence and bloodshed, and stripped them of the joy and innocence of their childhood by making images, situations, and dialogue, that would have once been considered pornographic, standard fare on prime time network TV.

Then, like the farmer in the bean field, we wonder why they've turned out so warped and twisted. We wonder where in the world they got their values (or lack thereof); and, in a true exercise in denial, we look for someone (or something) that we can blame for the things that they've done.

Are there answers? Is there any hope? Yes, there most certainly is, and it is found within a verse of Scripture that we have heard used so often in recent years that perhaps we've learned to take it for granted. I invite you to "read it again, for the first time:"

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV).

The answer is clear: It's time for Americans to get on our faces before the Almighty God of the Universe, and pray earnestly-for crop failure.

Anon