A Disease of the Human Heart

As many others are, I am still reeling from the footage of the murder of Tyre Nichols. Much as I did from the footage of the murder of George Floyd.

Once again, it generated a news cycle on what is causing, or allowing, such nightmarish atrocities. The same concerns are raised, the same debates are engaged—gun control, race, policing.

It’s not that these are unimportant, or that there isn’t anything that needs to be addressed in these areas. It’s just that no matter how much we talk about it, or how much we legislate it, or how much we take to the streets about it,

… nothing changes.

And there’s a reason. We only seem to know to address the symptoms, not the causes. It’s as if we are afraid to name the real disease, because the only cure for it is so radical to our day.

But I will take the risk. I will name the disease, and I will name the cure.

The disease is the human heart.

And not just any aspect of the human heart, but the human heart toward other humans. Or as Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said, the murder of Tyre Nichols was a “callous disregard and indifference to the value of human life.”


That is the disease.

And it is manifest in more ways than murder.

It is seen when we take to the internet and troll another human with the most vile and disgusting language.

It is seen when the slightest traffic offense leads to road rage.

It is seen when we harass a homeless person.

It is seen when we fail to treat those with whom we ideologically disagree with respect and civility, grace and dignity.

And yes, it is seen when five police officers pull a man from his car and beat him to death.

And there is only one cure. It is not another law, though new ones may be needed; it is not a change in policing, though changes may be needed. Those are band-aids—helpful, perhaps, but band-aids. They do not address the disease.

The disease is a calloused human heart toward other humans, and there is only one cure for that. 

And that cure is Jesus.

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This article originally appeared on ChurchAndCulture.org and is reposted here by permission.

James Emery White
James Emery Whitehttps://www.churchandculture.org/

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a former professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, ‘Hybrid Church:Rethinking the Church for a Post-Christian Digital Age,’ is now available on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org where you can view past blogs in our archive, read the latest church and culture news from around the world, and listen to the Church & Culture Podcast.