I started writing this post a couple of days ago. This morning, news broke that both informed and fundamentally changed much of what I was going to say. You see, in case you haven’t heard, this morning in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year-old man walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary school and began firing guns, one of which was a .223-caliber rifle. At the latest report, 27 people, including the gunman are dead.
18 of those are children.
Now, in the days to come, I am sure we will see the standard media blitz. Some journalists will convey information, some will sensationalize, some will use the events there to boost ratings. Punditry will kick into high gear, we can be sure, over gun laws and interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. You may even hear “experts” try to explain the behavior of a man doing what people on Facebook, and news forums have called, “unthinkable”, “horrible”, “wicked”, “awful”, etc.
And that, really, is what this post was supposed to be about. How can someone do something so horrible to something or someone so helpless?
My daughter occasionally deals with this. I see in her a wisdom beyond her years. It is a wisdom untainted, so far, by cynicism and experience. She sees things as they are and notes that when something is wrong. Not just wrong to her, but universally, fundamentally wrong. I am usually in the position of “person-to-go-to-when-something-doesn’t-make-sense” (a position I treasure), and so I have to answer these questions. She reads or hears stories about people using drugs… “Daddy, why….?” She hears about child abuse? “Daddy, how can….?” She reads about assassinations, wars, addictions and all manner of evil…
I’m sure that when she finds out what happened today I will get questions. Here’s my answer.
In Proverbs 29:18 says:
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (ESV)
Look first at the opening phrase, “where there is no prophetic vision.” What this means is that in a place, people, or nation, where the truth of God has been dismissed; where God’s law no longer has merit; where God Himself is dismissed. It isn’t just about prophecy or seeing the future.
What happens when those circumstances are the norm? “The people cast off restraint.” The “unthinkable” becomes acceptable. What was “horrible” is defended as personal choice. What was once “wicked” becomes “weird” and then, “well, whatever.”
I am not saying that my expectation is to see anyone defend the gunman’s attacks on this school, and the murder of these poor children. What I am saying is that when events like these happen, it behooves us to look into the mind of the perpetrator and realize that the normal restraint expected (even in a godless social contract) has been cast off because God Himself has been cast off.
I have prayed today for the families affected by this shooting, for the lives lost, for the potential cut short. I am left with only the urgency to say “Do not throw God – the One Who loves you, Who created you, Who stepped out of eternity for you – away!”
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3)
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