Aaron Hernandez was one of the most promising young stars in the National Football League. The New England Patriots recently signed him to a $40 million contract extension and his future seemed assured. Then he was charged with murder last week in the shooting death of his friend, Odin Lloyd. He is also being investigated in connection with a double homicide in 2012. He has been released by the Patriots and is being held without bail.
Meanwhile, the murder trial of George Zimmerman is making news again. Zimmerman is accused of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. The racial overtones of the tragedy and trial have sparked public outrage.
A third court case generating headlines involves Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Last week, a grand jury returned a 30-count indictment against the Chechen. He also faces charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.
More than 14,000 murders are committed annually in the U.S.; in some years, the number exceeds 24,000. A total of six people died in the three court proceedings making news this morning, constituting 0.04 percent of murder cases this year. Yet they have gripped our attention as few others in recent years. Our 24-hour news cycle and social media engines thrive on sensationalism. “If it bleeds, it leads” is the media maxim of our day. To get the culture’s attention, we need to be strategic.
For example, the book The Homosexual Agenda describes the plan followed by same-sex activists. One: normalize gays and lesbians on TV and in the media (see Will & Grace and Modern Family). Two: portray gays as victims and defenders of traditional values as prejudiced homophobes. Three: frame their agenda as a just cause (see “marriage equality”). Four: use finances to fight for gay rights (see Chick-fil-A and the Boy Scouts). How well would you say their strategy has worked?
Jesus wants us to be “as wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). He called leading businessmen and cultural influencers to lead his movement. Paul spent two years in Ephesus, the leading city of Asia, with the result that “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10).
We can impact our culture for the Kingdom just as powerfully as those who advocate unbiblical values, but we must be as strategic as they are. How have you seen Christians influence our culture for good?
God has entrusted you with influence this morning. Who will consider your opinions? Who will follow your example? Have you asked God to use your influence for his glory today?