The problem is in us
West Paducah, KY.
Add to the growing list of horrible killings on school properties the town of Newton, CT. Yesterday, the nation tuned in with horror (again) to news casts about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School which left 20 children dead.
Though the count was 1/3 in comparison to the massacre at a youth camp in Norway last year (which killed 69 there; 77 total in day's rampage), the shock of another shooting - especially of children - reopened our larger cultural wound. It forced us once again to look into the face of evil. What our society saw there makes it deeply uncomfortable with greater spiritual issues, and like our ancestors in the garden, we too turn to the blame game.
The discussion yesterday was quickly politicized into a debate about gun control. When it should be a time for consolation, grief, counsel and prayers, talking heads committed a cultural larceny by stealing our sympathy and pontificating about gun control.
Yes, let's reevaluate what guns can be sold and who they can be sold to. BUT, those who believe guns are the issue are missing the point.
We are the problem.
THIS is where sin leads us. To grief, tragedy and despair. To evil, dysfunction and atrocity. Every time. There is no small sin. All sin kills.
Thank God for Jesus, the sin bearer and sin destroyer. He allowed our sin to kill Him so that God's power would be displayed in His new life.
May we turn to Him in heartbroken confession. He will forgive and heal.
Let us not blame guns. It is as ludicrous as blaming the Big Gulp. It's US, idiots. WE are the problem. It is the resident evil within each of us, that left untreated individually creates deep sickness societally.
As God's Word so boldly informs us, "the wages of sin is death." Every time. Our collective sin and rejection of God is a killing cancer in mankind.
May we turn. One by one. May we turn to Him. We are the problem. God is the solution. He loves us and wants our complete and full surrender.
The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. (Romans 7:14 NLT)
Living in a community where tragedies have taken place brings perspective. One powerful force is the humbling reality that in such times of evil violence, we are simply not in control. We are helpless. We try to retake control through analysis, legislation and a commitment to better security. Yet, all the planning and deterrent measures in the world will not leash the evil heart of man.
We need a Savior who cares for us. We need a God whose heart breaks over the ugliness of our sin and offers salvation from it. We need a God that the prophet Isaiah described:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows... (Is 53.4)
It's grievous to note that such a God is ignored and marginalized - even ancient Israelite culture:
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Is 53.5)
Oh, America, may we turn. May we turn from blaming the externals and look internally. The problem is in us. May we find our hope in Him. He offers His wounds for our healing. He offers His crushing for our consolation. As the angels proclaimed to unsuspecting shepherds about the Christ, it is "good news of great joy which will be for all the people." (Luke 2.10)
Let us pray diligently for consolation and mercy for the families and community of Newton. Unity and hope is found in communal grief, humility and empathy, not in blame.