What happened to Sydney Sutherland has rocked me and many others to the core. I have gone from sad to mad to utterly distraught over and over. I have asked myself why did this man decide that he had the right to violate and kill her?
What he failed to understand was that he absolutely DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT! He had no right to her, but he saw her beauty and decided he would not hold her back from himself. Sin, transgression and iniquity was in his heart. He practiced no self-control.
I am sure other men found her very beautiful, but they did what the evil man didn’t, they did not let sin, transgression and iniquity come to fruition, they practiced self-control. They admired her beauty and kept going. He, on the other hand, let sin and evil overcome him, he had no self-control or love for the sanctity of life. He had no love for others or for Jehovah God.
The evil man could have looked at her and thought, “Wow! She’s beautiful!” and kept driving. That would have been the normal reaction for those who practice love, self-control, for those who put God first.
He struggled with evil desires, sin, transgression and iniquity. My question is why didn’t he work to overcome these? We know it can be done.
James tells us “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:12-15).
We have examples from the Corinthian brethren:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1Cor. 6:9-11).
We also know this man had a way to escape the evil desire he had. But he chose not to take it.
Paul goes on to tell us: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor. 10:13).
The evil man had a way of escaping whatever desire he had when he saw her. He just didn’t. He chose to give in to his own lust, his own sinful desires, he chose to hearken to Satan, to sin against God, against Sydney, her parents and loved ones, his wife, his family and everyone involved. I keep asking why? why? why? Then I’m reminded of the world we live in. How God has been removed from everyday life. How that His word is no longer reverenced, obeyed, lived, loved and taught. I am reminded of how things commonly don’t get held back from people today. At least not like they did in years past. Some are growing up with everything they want handed to them on a silver platter. Nothing is held back.
I know you’ve seen it. Kids in grocery stores, throwing an ever-loving fit for an item, while the parent is scrambling to put the item in the buggy so the kid will hush. Teenagers in stores demanding the latest and greatest device while the parent is telling them they don’t have the money. Yet the teenager walks out with the device smiling while the parent walks out broke and looking utterly defeated. College students leave home and take part in every unimaginable thing, holding nothing back. While the parents are at home just tickled and proud that little Johnny or Susie got into a good college.
Sadly, a lot of parents today are not teaching their kids about God, love for His word and reverence and respect towards Him. Some are not teaching their Biblical principles and self-control from the time they are little. They are not teaching them what it means to truly want something and to wait for it. To wait until they can earn it themselves. Want that toy? Ok! Want every new gaming system? Ok! Want a motorcycle? Ok! Want a new car? Ok!
This does not pertain to everyone. I understand that. There are good parents, respectful kids, teenagers, college students...etc.. There are kids who enjoy things they get because they have had to earn it or wait for it. They know what it means to open a present on Christmas and just fall out with excitement because they have finally gotten something they’ve wanted for a very long time.
There are also good kids who get a lot of the things they want. I also understand that. There are kids that are taught the love of God by their parents. They are raised in godly homes; they are taught to put Christ first in all things. They are taught how to overcome Satan, sin and the world, a love for God and reverence for His word are instilled within them. They are warned about the snares of the devil. Their parents are great examples to them. I also understand that children will make their own decisions and sadly, some will go astray.
I’m also reminded that not everyone who has nothing held back will commit evil crimes. But I think there is a much greater chance that they will if they have not been taught to put Christ first. If a love for God and his word is not instilled constantly. If they have not been taught self-control.
The person who lacks self-control has no rule over his own spirit. The Wise man said it perfectly in Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
The person who has no rule over his own spirit doesn’t fight temptations, has no government over himself, he is exposed and becomes an easy prey to Satan. Such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out and forsakes him; all that is evil breaks in upon him!
This person spoken of here reminds me of those who force themselves upon others. Of those who take the lives of innocents. I can’t imagine that anyone truly wants to be this person.
So how does one fight Satan? How does one move past evil thoughts and evil desires?
First and foremost, by making a conscious decision to study the Bible with an open heart and learning to put God first, others second, and ourselves last. And then we must learn self-control.
What is Love? This is the best way I’ve ever seen it described:
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1Jn. 4:7-11).
Love. This. Is. Love.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pet. 2:21-24).
We have God’s love. We have done nothing to deserve that love, yet we still have it.
Now think about the most random person you may meet. Have they done anything to deserve your love? Probably not directly. But we can and should love them anyway.
Thinking ugly thoughts about someone? Put your mind on something else. Fill your mind with the knowledge of God’s word! (Philippians 4:8-9).
Think about the love that God showed toward you, even when you didn’t deserve it, even when you were an enemy of the Cross, God still loved you!! Show that same love toward others!! (1Pet. 3:8-12)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Php. 4:8).
Practice self-control and think on other things. Do something else. Pick up the phone and call someone. Do anything to get your mind off ugliness and unrighteousness.
As I think, I am reminded of the account in 1Sam. 24. King Saul was hunting David down like an animal. He wanted David dead. But when David had an opportunity to kill King Saul in the cave, he did not. David practiced self-control. David thought of what God would want.
I’m pretty sure people we see on the street most days aren’t hunting us down to kill us. I know for certain Sydney wasn’t a threat to the evil man who took her life. He could have practiced self-control. He just chose not to. He didn’t have a plan. A plan to think on something other than SIN and ugliness.
Let us remain grounded in our love for God and let that love bleed over to others. I am convinced that if the people of the world spent more time loving and helping others, there would be a whole lot less senseless killing of innocent people. We need to practice, Php. 2:3-8!! (Please look this scripture up!)
Do you love God? Others?
Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, you can. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Put Christ on in Baptism. Put God first. Do this and you’ll find it’s much easier to love others.
How does one become a Christian?
1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17, John 8:32)
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31)
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30)
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10)
As always, I am happy to study with anyone, day or night.
In Christian Love,