LOS ANGELES, December 16, 2012 — A gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them small children, in a shooting on Friday morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City. The 20-year-old gunman, walked into the school, shot the principle and the school psychologist in the hallway, then entered a kindergarten classroom where he killed the teacher and most of her students. He walked into another classroom, where he killed more children before finally taking his own life.
People who believe that humans are perfectly changeable and can be made good with a shove here and a law there will never understand events like the Newtown massacre. They’ll always look for a regulation or a law that will stop events like that from happening, and will always be baffled when they happen again.
People with a religious understanding of humanity know to their sorrow that humans are capable of true depravity. Newtown, Aurora and Columbine were the work of depraved minds, minds without faith, without compassion, and without God. They were the work of minds divided by illness and sin – Raskolnikovs who put themselves above humanity and above divine limits. Indeed, it was James who explained to us how a person could have the potential to gun down thirty people when he informed us that, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).”
Laws can govern, but they cannot control. Laws can imperfectly hold evil at bay, but they cannot prevent evil from striking, and they cannot make us good. When the mind has lost stability, when thoughts of hate and pain and harm enter one’s mind, no law can control that.
There is already much talk about gun control, as there inevitably is after a high profile shooting. Yet speaking of gun control because of sick and evil savages smacks of debating the virtues of car control because of alcoholics who drink and drive. The laws are only as good as the persons that are governed by them. As long as there are individuals who either cannot or will not be stable in their minds, events like this will occur, a tragedy for us all.
There is a time when all of us, as Americans, take an oath when we are children, pledging our allegiance to the flag and the republic that it stands for. We still say the words, but we no longer stand as one nation under God. We no longer stand indivisible. We no longer seek liberty and justice for us all. Greed and immorality have turned us against each other and against our God. We have become many nations, separate, with goods and services for some and less of them for others.
The twisted, demonic man who killed himself after turning his weapon on those innocent children did not adhere to the oath that we all took. He is one more symbol of a nation that has turned its eyes away from faith to gaze inward. His pain, whatever it was, was more important to him than the lives he took. He gazed within and saw only his own emptiness, never looking out to see the light and joy that he was about to extinguish.
Secular America does not turn to God in these times; we turn to our own laws, our own justice, our own opinions, and our own strength. We continue to lean to our own understanding, not seeing through our blindness that we have failed ourselves. We cannot pray for the ones who have already gone on to see God, nor should we. Our prayers now, for those of us who believe in God, should be to Him Whom we trust, in repentance and in supplication, seeking guidance through the darkness that we ourselves have created, seeking the knowledge that He has not forsaken us, after all.
We must, as a nation, return to Him. We must, as a nation, be in prayer for each other and for our country – not just in these dark days of tragedy, but on every day that we continue to live and breathe. We must, finally, put our political differences aside, realizing that we are but mere men, and spend more time with He Who created us and set us in our appointed lives during this appointed time. We must trust in Him as Job did.
As the people of Newtown did, Job experienced the loss of his children, as well as the loss of his wealth and his good health. Yet Job continued to trust in God, through both joy and tragedy. We must do the same. We have told Him that we do not need Him, but the overwhelming sorrow of this life tells us that we do. We cannot allow suffering to make us throw in the towel. Let us, once and for all, show Him that we do not serve Him because of the blessings that He has given; rather this nation belongs to Him because we love and serve Him. Today is a day that we reach out to Him, asking for His mercy, His comfort, His healing—and His blessing, lest we continue to be double-minded and unstable in our ways.
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