This week 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Wood were reporting a story on the air. Alison was the reporter and Adam was running the camera. A man who was previously a reporter walked up to them, pulled out a pistol and shot them to death as he recorded the act on his phone. Adam’s finance was a producer at the television station and was working the control room at the time of the murders. It would seem reasonable that she watched it happen. After the murders, this person send a 23 page manifesto that outlined his motive(s) for this senseless act of illegitimate violence. I have read several articles on this incident with many different quotes from this manifesto, but we will focus on this one quote. “Yes, It will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion that I want to feel is peace.” I do not believe that he is experiencing peace now.
As the social media momentum builds on this story, people will inevitably try to make sense of why this person acted like this. I normally don’t enter the realm of current events in these studies, but it is wholly applicable. As we continue our study in the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contained in Matthew we find a verse that answers our question. We read in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
What does this mean? How does one purify their heart, their innermost being? It is a continual process of inviting The Lord and His Word into our hearts. The Bible has a way of humbling people when they read it with the intention of learning. It humbles us all, and this humbling is the exact opposite of holding onto hate so fervently that a person resorts to cold-blooded murder. When we read the words of Jesus, and find ourselves succumbing to His teachings we don’t say things like “I am angry… I am. And I have every right to be.” Instead we say things like “I’m grateful that Jesus loved me enough to be tortured and die for me.” We pray for evil to be irradiated, and we have the blessed hope that The Lord will do this one day.
How do we make sense of this senseless tragedy? We look at it for what it is: A person who allowed hate to fester into an irreversible abominable act. We can’t control other people’s perceptions, but we can control our own. We can control our own purity of heart by staying vigilant in God’s Word and in prayer.
This week let this tragedy drive us to think more clearly about ourselves and how we perceive the world that we are passing through. Let us allow Christ to purify our own hearts, because in the end we will see God. Let us keep the loved ones of these victims in our prayers.
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Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”