20161113_JLRussellBy Rev. J. Loren Russell, MDiv

Psalm 14:1
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

A few months ago, I wrote an article entitled “This Has Got to Stop!” I wrote it in response to a rash of shootings that had taken the lives of several people. One was a young mother who was killed protecting her three children from shots fired in a city park, and the Florida mass killing where several people died. Most of these people were young adults, also. These crimes were perpetrated by community residents against other community residents.

This past Monday evening, yet another young lady, this time just 21 years of age, was shot and killed by another community resident. It was not random, nor was it accidental. She was gunned down in a city-owned public housing building. No one came to her aid, either because they were too afraid or too familiar with these types of situations to intervene.

I’ll say it again: This has got to stop!

The psalmist said, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the consequences of foolishness when said, “We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.” I found myself asking if our society has lost the will to live together as brothers and sisters, or have we sunk to the level where we are actually perishing together as fools? Have we lost our faith? Do we no longer believe that there is a God?

Lest anyone think that this foolishness is confined to particular communities, remember that drug abuse and crimes are present in every community in this nation. If people aren’t killing, robbing and stealing from one another, they are killing themselves through various self-abusing activities. It gets worse than that. We have elected officials at every level bickering, fighting, and trying to pass laws that are unconstitutional and morally wrong. Their only concern seems to be their own ideological gratification.

How do you recognize a fool? If we could read their hearts, the psalmist says it would be simple, for the fool says there is no God! Since we cannot see into anyone’s heart, all we’re left with is the observation of their behavior; “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”

While the psalmist tells us how to recognize a fool, I want to close with the encouraging words of the Apostle Paul who gives an alternative to foolishness in his letter to Titus (3:3-8): “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.”

Being a fool is a choice. Choose wisely, beloved.

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell (#jlorenr) is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting; and host of “Matters of Faith: The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at

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