Just a few days ago, as millions of Christians gathered for worship, a small group of faithful worshipers gathered in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Their place of worship wasn't fancy, but that wasn't important.
They gathered in the name of Jesus. They sang praises to God. They prayed. They gained strength from being together and from the presence of God in their midst.
Then a madman armed with weapons entered their sanctuary and killed or injured most of them.
In the days since that dreadful scene, reactions from other people have varied wildly. Some have been staunchly supportive and helpful of the victims' families. Some have called for tighter security for churches. Some have called for political change of one kind or another.
And some have allowed hatred into their hearts. Righteous indignation, perhaps, but still. How easy it is, in the heat of such a trying time, to forget that hatred is fuel for the fire of evil.
Dear Lord, deliver us. Deliver us from evil.
This week I ran across a statement from an old Ann Landers column:
We must remember that hatred is like acid.
It does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored
than to the object on which it is poured.
That's right, isn't it?
Even as we recoil in horror from such evil, as we grieve and work for change, may God help us be on guard against hate.
May we instead fix our minds upon God, who can give us peace.