Dear mission partners,
On 16 March, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area. I was quite shaken when I saw the breaking news on TV, as my daughter lived really close to where the shootings took place. Even though the shooter told police that his actions were not racially motivated, when so many victims were of Asian descent, we have to consider race as a possible reason why they were targeted.
This mass shooting incident just shows us the tip of the iceberg, violent crimes are not merely isolated and accidental events, they reflect the sinful nature deeply hidden in our society and in the entire human race. Sin provokes hatred between individuals which leads to hostility between races and then escalates to conflicts between nations. Human history is a vicious cycle with these recurring problems, there are too much pain and suffering among us.
The last week of March was Passion Week according to the traditional Christian calendar. During this week, many Christians set aside time to meditate on our Lord Jesus Christ and His suffering. It was a time to remember God’s unfathomable love for us.
A friend once asked why Jesus had to suffer so much. He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, humiliated, and ultimately crucified. Why?
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah gave us this explanation: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, …… We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. …… Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, … the Lord makes his life an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:3-10).
在舊約聖經裏，先知以賽亞給我們這樣的解釋：“他被藐視，被人厭棄；多受痛苦，常經憂患。他被藐視，好像被人掩面不看的一樣；我們也不尊重他。他誠然擔當我們的憂患， 背負我們的痛苦；…… 我們都如羊走迷；各人偏行己路；耶和華使我們眾人的罪孽都歸在他身上。…… 耶和華卻定意將他壓傷，使他受痛苦。耶和華以他為贖罪祭”（以賽亞書53:3-10）。
The violence and suffering we see in the world today, are they not telling us the dire consequences of sin? Personal hatred, racial hostility, and international conflicts are all caused by the fact that we always try to make sure we can get what we want, and we want to have more rights and benefits than others. The result is we are constantly at war and hurting one another.