It is with the same sadness and heartbreak that I watch the news reports of the Newtown, Connecticut School shooting. With tears in my eyes, as a parent, my heart grieves and mourns for the families. I too wonder and ask the question why?
Why did innocent lives perish? Why do families have to suffer? Why does an entire town go through a loss? Why does a young man choose a path of violence?
I also wonder when this will end. Sandy Hook elementary school is the most recent and with the youngest of victims. However, perhaps we should consider our history. This is the second mass shooting in the United States THIS WEEK! In an Oregon shopping mall filled with Christmas shoppers a gunman opened fire to kill.
Take a look at this year alone. This is ONLY the last 6 months of 2012.
December 11, 2012. The Oregon Mall shooting. September 27, 2012. Five were murdered by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, MN. August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were murdered in Wisconsin. July 20, 2012. Twelve people murdered during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO. 58 others were wounded.
Our president addressed the nation. “As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
We must take “meaningful action”. However no one seems to know what that action is. Let us consider what actions are possible.
To the families of the victims: Please know that Americans grieve with you. We can never fully understand your loss. However, we will mourn and grieve with you. (Rom 12:15). Our arms and our hearts extend to you. We shed tears with you. We stand together as Americans here to help in any ways we can, to support you even as we do not know how and we find that there are no words that we can say to express our heartache with you or the love we want to show you. We pray for you. We ask God who is the author of comfort and peace to bring healing to your lives. We know this. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18, NIV84) And we trust that God hears our cries and sees our tears. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3, NIV84)
To the family of the shooter. You also are grieving. You also have many questions. You lost a mother to murder. You have become the focal point of the nation’s grief. I pray for your comfort as well.
To the community of Newtown, CT: So many of you are connected to these families. I pray that the wisdom and counsel of God will help and strengthen you. I pray for your wisdom. I ask God to protect you and comfort you.
But now… there comes a time as a nation that we must begin to ask the more difficult questions of why we have become a nation of senseless violence?
There are those who would respond and say we need to get rid of guns. However, we need to consider what happened in Newton, CT. It appears that the shooter decided at some point he was going to kill. He tried to buy guns at a sports store and the laws worked because of the background checks and delays. He left without a legal gun. He then decided to find guns ILLEGALLY. He went to his mother’s home and murdered her and used her legal weapons that he acquired illegally. He then went to a school which already has laws against guns and illegally forced his way into the school. He then illegally began to murder others. Ironically, in China on the same day, a man took a knife to 22 children in a school. Why did the Chinese man use a knife… because guns are more difficult to find.
What we see is this. Those with evil in their hearts will use whatever tools they can to commit acts of evil. It could be guns, knives, cars, rocks, fire or anything else at hand. It is the desire to commit an evil act and the choice to commit an evil act that empowers evil to manifest.
Now I ask this question…. Why where there so many fewer acts of evil 50 years ago?
This is the question we must answer as a nation. What has changed in our nation that we have created a culture that empowers evil thoughts, evil choices and ultimately the manifestation of evil?
We are a nation that has removed God from our schools. We are a nation that has removed ourselves from churches. We are a nation that has created media that is increasingly violent, increasingly sexual and increasingly selfish. We are a nation that wants our deep thoughts to be expressed in a youtube video of 3 minutes or less. We do not want to take the time to consider that actions have outcomes and we are responsible for the consequences of our decisions. We are a nation that embraces every choice of lifestyle except those that call for holiness, character and integrity. We have chosen to abandon the concept of self sacrifice and embrace self-pleasure. We are a nation of video games and alternate realities that we fail to consider that there is only one reality and that is the life we are given. We are a nation that has chosen in a generation to disregard the wisdom of the generations that built our great nation and have chosen to seek our own comfort as the foundation of our lives.
It is only when we begin to address these questions that we will begin to see a true change in our nation.
Indeed, we must once again consider that our lives were created by God to be lived with character and integrity to help others. We must consider that the wisdom of God embraced by earlier generations is also God’s wisdom for our generation.
God has a simple promise for us. “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV84)
Will we humble ourselves and admit that our choices are not working? Will we humble ourselves and admit that we have opened the door to evil and closed the door to God?
Will we begin once again to pray and seek God? Will we begin once again to have an open heart towards God that seeks to embrace love, holiness, truth and integrity?
Will we turn from our wicked ways? Will we stop entertaining ourselves with violent movies, violent video games and say it is only a game?
Will we begin to listen to God? Will we receive His forgiveness and then His healing for our nation?
We will never be able to create laws that prevent evil. It is only a change of heart that embraces the goodness of God that will do away with the darkness of evil.
I pray for each of you that read this, that each of you will seek God and together God will use us to bring healing to our land.
In honor of the fallen:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Olivia Engel, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Josephine Gay, 7
Chase Kowalski, 7
Grace McDonnell, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
The choice to obey a law is a moral choice of submission. There will never be enough laws to legislate morality. Morals and values are issues of the heart and only a change of heart will change our nation.
Ingrid Hansen has published several books available on Amazon.com.
More information can be found on the main website ingrid-hansen.info.
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