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The Word on the Week

Ranting and Rioting

The sight of those young people running down streets, smashing windows, taking property, looting, laughing as they go, the problem of that is a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals.” So said David Cameron before a sympathetic audience consisting of MP’s, rounded up from their holidays, to hear him. So what happened? Race is not an issue – every race was involved in the rioting. It has been condemned by leaders from every ethnic background. Young males have been to the fore, but the age span has stretched from children as young as 10 to men old enough to be on pensions. The first people charged included university students, primary school workers, dental assistants as well as those who make a living from criminality. The excitement of going on the rampage, when there was little chance of being caught by an over-stretched police force, coupled with the thrill of getting “fings for free” brought people out in droves. So who is to blame? The sociologists blamed the environment. The government blamed the parents. The moralists blamed it on lazy louts. The rioters blamed it on the police. So what’s the remedy? More financial resources to improve opportunities for the rioters? Equip the police with baton rounds and water cannon like in Europe? Lock them up and throw away the key? Give us respect and the right to be listened to? What has the Bible to say? Rather discouragingly for some of us – we are no better than the rioters! We are born rebels with regard to God and unless there is a heart change its rebels we will remain. On the human level sophisticated perhaps, fiddling our expenses like most people lucky enough to have an expense account; tapping phones if you have been educated to that level of expertise, to quote a couple to recent examples. On the spiritual level sin has been removed from the vocabulary along with adultery and other unpleasant words. Judgement, if it exists is for them, not us.  The summary of the human race that is given in Romans is bleak:- “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one…..There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Chapter 3 verses 10 – 18. What would it take to transform the heart of a rioter, a member of parliament, you or me into a child of the living God? It takes the miracle of us truly repenting and acknowledging we are even as God says. It takes the further miracle of the stubborn heart yielding to the lordship of Jesus. It takes the Holy Spirit the rest of our life on earth to transform us into the likeness of his Son. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself … in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2Corinthians Chapter 5 verses 18 – 21.