Monday, December 24, 2012

Little Ones to Him Belong: A spiritual response to Sandy Hook

There has been so much said about Sandy Hook Elementary School since the tragedy took place December 14. I'm sure that several people do not want to hear any more conjecture surrounding the devastating situation; but I hope that this article offers more truth than theory and more reason than reaction.  

The Killer

Adam Lanza no doubt suffered from mental disease, regardless of the degree. He had thoughts that were evil, though not beyond what we can imagine. He had troubled feelings, but they weren't sentiments foreign to our hearts. Adam Lanza's heart was deeply darkened and no one questions that. 

In fact, Scripture confirms it.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

And Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness."
Mark 7:20-22

You see, when Scripture speaks of the sinful desires of the human heart, it is speaking of all humans-- mankind as a whole. It is easy for someone who has never physically murdered someone to sit back and say that what Adam Lanza did was extraordinarily evil; however, look at what Jesus says:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."
Matthew 5:21-22

Is Adam Lanza's sin so extraordinary now? Jesus just said that whoever calls "his brother" a "fool" out of anger is "liable to the hell of fire." Who among us has not hated another person from his heart? We are all guilty.

So how could Lanza have been stopped? The answer is found in the person of Jesus Christ. 

I'm not a part of the camp that places the blame fully on governmental authorities. Jesus has established the authorities (Romans 13:1-6) but He has not commissioned them with the gospel. The power of evangelism has been bestowed upon His people, the Church (Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, it is the individual believer's responsibility to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ. 

However, the government is not exempt from judgment because God definitely has expectations for them, as He has given them great responsibility. 

In the past five decades, starting with the Supreme Court ruling in 1962, the teachings of God have slowly been shut out of public schools. So let's cut all the ramblings and get to the point: Would a nativity scene outside of Sandy Hook Elementary School have stopped Lanza from going in and slaughtering innocent children? I have no idea. 

But think about what our schools do teach children today: Adam Lanza was only human in the sense that he evolved to a higher state of being than apes. The way that he survives is by competing with fellow man-- because the fittest, most equipped species will rule the day. He is just a rung on a proverbial ladder, known as the evolutionary process, leading to an unknown future. There is no hope or accountability in this life because he is just an animal seeking his own interests here and now. There is nothing absolutely true, for God is just a foreign concept, left for philosophers to straighten out. This life is all about individual gain with a slice of charity. 

This worldview is terribly sad and inevitably leads to disaster. 

We all must understand that this is the context from which Adam Lanza arose, therefore, coupled with the sick heart we all have, evil actions must follow. So many people have called this act "senseless," but it actually does make sense when the truths of the situation are considered.   

Where Are They Now?

So then we think of the children, the ones that lost their lives in Lanza's shooting spree, and wonder where they are now. 

I believe in the absolute innocence of children. In Deuteronomy 1, God is speaking to an "evil generation" of Israel that He was disallowing to enter into the Promised Land because of their sin. He allowed Caleb and Joshua to be the exceptions to this rule because of their faithful obedience to Him. Then He spoke of the next generation. Read carefully what He said:

And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.
Deuteronomy 1:39

The children have no knowledge of good or evil. Therefore, they were allowed to enter into the Promised Land. Jesus said of the children, "for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 19:14). 

I don't want to try to reinvent the wheel here, so please take the time to listen to Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He explains this predicament beautifully, bringing up a very important point which speaks to the hypocrisy of our culture:

Our Response

Finally, we must figure out our response to this ordeal. Do we blame God? Certainly we should not. Do we blame the gun Adam was holding? Foolishness. Do we blame the culture? They didn't pull the trigger. 

The responsibility of these killings falls on Adam Lanza himself. If he were still alive, he would certainly be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. The whole nation would affirm his guilt and desire justice to be served. 

But Adam, like the children and teachers, is gone. And we have not satisfied our need for justice.

We tend to turn to everything else involved in the massacre (guns, mental health, federal laws, church, etc.) and place blame on those in order to "right wrongs." However, Jesus is the only One who can right our wrongs.

We  have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). No one is righteous, not even one of us (Romans 3:10). The wages of our sin is eternal death, but God's gift in Jesus is eternal life (Romans 6:23). If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). 

Jesus is all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, and all-loving. He is God. Christ desires everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). God wants everyone to repent and come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). 

Turn to Christ. 

Come to God.

He loves you.

No comments:

Post a Comment