I have waited a few days before making any comment about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The raw emotion I feel as I deal with this tragedy at an individual level has been powerful, and I wanted to be able to speak with a little more of objectivity.
At this point, the emotions I feel are still deep sadness mixed with anger. But interestingly, it is not so much anger at the shooter. The anger I feel is at our culture. We have become a people who have completely lost our way.
As I look at the headlines I see some of the expected ones.
∙ Tragedy Stirs New Debate over Gun Control
∙ Entertainment Culture to Blame
∙ Gun Control Debate Simmers After Sandy Hook Massacre
∙ Sandy Hook: Gun Control Wouldn’t Have Stopped It
But, I am probably not going with this where you think I am. There are some other very recent headlines that have also caught my attention.
∙ Sinful Robot Developing Fully-immersive Virtual Reality Sex Game
∙ ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Star Paz De La Huerta Tells Playboy: ‘I Celebrate Nudity Everyday’
∙ Holiday Message: Atheists Dub Jesus a ‘Myth’ on Times Square Billboard
∙ Secular Group Rips Kansas Gov. Brownback for Promotion of Faith Rally
∙ New Mexico Soccer Coach Booted for Praying
∙ Months Before Graduation, West Point Cadet Quits, Citing Culture of Overt Religion
Let me just say it straight. This shooting did not happen because we have a gun culture. It happened because we have a sin culture. Naturalism has so taken over our society that right is said to be wrong and wrong is promoted as right. The problem is not in the guns, it is in our hearts.
I was reading some articles about this tragedy and some of them tried to put the shooting in a wider historical perspective. One I read talked of school violence in general. These have been much more pervasive in history than we might realize. It seems that the worst mass murder which ever happened at a school in the U.S. occurred in 1927 when an angry man blew up the school with dynamite. That one killed 38 kids and 6 adults. Just a few days ago, a person in China attacked children in an elementary school with a knife and wounded 23.
And we can move beyond schools, too. The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people including 19 children in a day care. And what about the World Trade Center being attacked by civilian aircraft that killed nearly 3000 people. The problem we have is not a weapons problem, it is a heart problem. People do this kind of thing because their hearts are far from God.
I hear people talking about what Christians need to do. Some say we need to repent, and we certainly need to do that. As a Christian community, we have not been as faithful to God as we ought. Some say we need to be more active in church, and we need to do that, too. Still others say we need to get out and witness more – another important matter we need to take care of. The problem is, it is possible to do all of the right things with a wrong heart. That is what is called legalism and is the poison that is killing the Christian community and, in turn, killing America.
If we really want to see change, there is an overarching matter which includes all of the above that we must grasp. If we don’t get this, everything else simply becomes useless mechanical forms. We must BECOME authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. We must purify our hearts by authentic personal repentance. We must gather with other believers to worship. We must put forth extra effort to equip ourselves for ministry. Then, we must go out into the world and share the message of hope and salvation so that the population at large can also BECOME disciples of Jesus Christ. ALL of this must become a reality. It can’t be done piecemeal. It is only as we BECOME authentic disciples that we are able to DO the things which create change in the world.
I am mad and sad all at the same time. I want our nation to turn back to God. I don’t know if it will happen or not. But I do know this, if we, as Christians, don’t get our act together, there is no way to turn this around.