I have a confession to make. I used to be a news junkie. I was glued to the screen or radio. But this isn't the case any more. It hasn't been so for the past six or seven years. These days, I tend to only skim the headlines. I just can't take the dishonesty, the depravity, and the violence that fills the airwaves.
COVID has finally receded from the front page. It's been replaced by the war in eastern Europe. Making this terrible conflict all the worse is the fact that Russia and Ukraine have large Christian populations.
What is going on overseas reminds me of a sad reality that politicians exploit for their purposes. Hatred tends to be a much stronger motivator and unifier than love. The sooner we come to grips with this grim aspect to human nature, the better.
Over the past few days we've seen truly horrific images out of Ukraine. Mass graves. The bodies of civilians lying dead in the streets; many with their hands tied behind their backs. Accusations of war crimes are voiced, as they should. But deep down, we know that all this talk is likely to lead nowhere.
I have long been a history buff. This has been the case for almost fifty years. I can't fully explain why I've had a long love affair with the past. It's like any hobby, I suppose. I simply enjoy it. Also, it gives me perspective. There is little that is new under the sun.
But there are many dark sides to history. It's often enough to sicken your stomach.
I was reminded of this earlier today.
I subscribe to Christian History Institute's Daily Story. Each day, CHI sends out a brief email featuring one aspect of our collective history. Yesterday, for example, the Daily Story told of Robert Raikes. Who was he? As the Industrial Revolution transformed England, Raikes was the man who ignited the Sunday school movement as a way to educate and train poor children.
Today's Daily Story was something else. It told of a genocide that took place several decades ago. This genocide occurred in an overwhelmingly Christian nation. Shockingly, much of the bloodbath in Rwanda took place in churches, as hard as this may be to believe.
Here is a link to the Daily Story I read:
When the news of the day is heartbreaking, as it so often is, it drives me to the Psalms. Many of these ancient prayers speak of violence, injustice, and oppression. The saints of old not only speak of such matters, they cry out for relief, retribution, and deliverance.
The Psalms remind me of what should be one of our most fervent prayers: Deliver us from evil, both inside and out.