Column: It’s not just mental illness

Published 10:12 am Monday, May 29, 2023

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By Pastor Randy Reid | Clanton First Assembly of God

High Point, North Carolina, Monterey Park, California, Cocoa, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, Allen, Texas, Dadeville, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama. These cities sound ominously familiar? These are just a few in a long number of cities that have experienced mass shooting of late. At last check a whopping 227 mass shootings have occurred in America in 2023 alone. A mass shooting is defined as a single event in which at least four people are killed. Can you wrap your mind around that? America has seen more mass shootings in 2023 than we have had calendar days thus far.

Lawmakers in Washington are grappling over why mass shootings have suddenly spiked. Law enforcement officials are trying to figure out how to curb this new phenomenon. The powers that be want to know what can be done to fix our crime-ridden and increasingly dysfunctional society. Some groups point to gun control as the means for stoping gun violence. Some insist that better education is the answer. Suggested remedies seem to be endless. However, the thing that all sides seem to agree upon is the need for more effective treatment of mental illness. The inference is that the main cause behind mass shooting is mental illness. Medical experts, politicians, law enforcement officials as well as educators on all side of the political spectrum seem to agree that the best way to curb gun violence, and by extension mass shootings, is proper treatment for mental health diseases.

Obviously, I am no mental health expert. I concede that I do not know all the causes of mental illness nor how to effectively treat it. Mental health is a real issue and I applaud the efforts of all those who are tasked with the responsibility to improve its treatment. However, when it comes to the current violence of our day, our leaders are directing their attention in the wrong place. The reason for mass shootings in America is not a mental illness problem, it’s a spiritual problem.

When God was speaking to the nation of Israel through the prophet Amos, He was rebuking them for their sin and warning them of the consequences their backsliding would bring. In his warning He declared in Amos 8:7 “they have sown the wind and shall reap the whirlwind.” Paul declared in Galatians 6:7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. When we as a society move further away from God, unfortunately we can only expect more of what we are getting.

When a society forces even the mention of God out of its public schools what can we expect? When the strong, steady guidance of dad is absent from the home, as it increasingly is today, you get what we are experiencing in America today. When on any given Sunday only 11% of American’s population are sitting in church worshiping Jesus and hearing God’s Word declared, we produce the very opposite of what God’s Word teaches. As a society we reap what we sow, and we have sown the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind.

The root problem is not mental illness, it’s spiritual illness. And this horrible condition cannot be cured with jail time, special therapy, education, special funding or even social change. It can only be remedied by American turning back to God.