Once again hate and evil and murder raises its head and we cry out for more legislation, more programs, more of whatever we think will prevent such acts of violence as we've seen in the last couple of months. Have we forgotten? Since the '60s we've had more legislation, more education, more health care, more social programming than ever before in our history, yet our social ills continue to climb. We have not dealt with the source of the violence.

Where does the hatred, the violence come from? Since we were designed by an infinite God and he knows the intricacies of how we work, what he gives as the solution should be our go-to for overcoming the problem. He tells us that it is "from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things comes from within and defile a person." (Mark 7:21-23) According to our designer, the problem is with the human heart and the solution needs to start here.

According to our designer, there is only one way to have the opposite of hate and violence, and that is by embracing his character of "love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23) The problem is we have removed God from our schools, our workplace, our families, and our culture. We have told him that he is no longer welcomed. When God is rejected the opposite of his character is invited. Mass shootings and the like are the result.

Real solutions for violence will never come through legislative, educational, or health or social restraints. There is only one way to restrain the actions of the human heart, and that is to embrace God and his character into our minds, emotions, and behavior. We have distanced ourselves from God. If we are to restrain the dark side of the human heart, we must return to God. He truly is our only hope.

Steve Magill

The letter-writer is a retired pastor and the author of four Christian books. He lives in Smithfield.