Here’s what can happen when a community loses the fear of God. So far this year there have been 115 homicides in the City of St. Louis, a 60 per cent increase over last year. Note: the city is but a small part of the metropolitan area, about 319,000 people in a metropolitan area of almost 3 million. This is a safe metropolitan area but the increase in murders in the city has prompted people to speak up.
Last weekend the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association held its convention in St. Louis, 3000 in attendance. Sunday they staged a procession through downtown, ten hearses and limos and 200 motorcycles. “We’re very concerned about the violent crime that is going on in our cities,” said one director. “We’re hoping that this will touch someone.”
Daniel “Boone” Fuller is concerned, so much that he went to the top of a billboard July 10th and promised to stay there until the city went a week without a murder. He almost made the goal, seven days without a murder, until two killings a few hours before the end of the week. He came down, saying he had made his point.
The fear of God, terror of judgment and awe of forgiveness, is finally something personal. Some won’t get it. Said one criminal to another, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-41). Some who don’t fear God resort to crime and murder. Others deplore the wrong but grow older with hardened ways and little compassion. Does the fear of God transform how you yourself act toward others?
A woman watching the procession said, “That is what you’re going to be carried away in.” There are churches and agencies trying to make a difference in all our cities. Fear of God’s judgment upon us and awe that He offers forgiveness and salvation should soften us all. “I forgave you all that debt…should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:32-33; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; STL Today; August 3).