What Can We Do?
On the day I wrote this there was another school shooting. The last information I received showed that 10 people were dead and 10 others were injured. What can we do about it?
I have to admit that I am angry about this. I am angry because students were shot and killed who were simply going to school. I am angry because this is a terrible injustice and because some families are going to grieve for the rest of their lives. And I am angry because we are addressing this violence from the wrong angle.
Our politicians and many of our citizens will continue to talk a lot about more gun control laws. To be sure, private citizens do not need machine guns and other weapons designed only for the military. But the real issue is the spiritual, mental, and emotional health of our citizens. No one who is spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy is going to walk into a school and start shooting people. No one who is spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy will purchase guns, steal them, or buy them on the black market in order to kill others.
So what can we do about it? Let me start by saying that we Christians ought to lead the way. For too long, we have kept silent about the ways in which we as a culture damage minds, hearts, and spirits.
The frequency of divorce has led to many children growing up with serious emotional and mental health issues. Abortion has led to the death of millions of so-called “unwanted children” in the womb. The rampant use of recreational drugs has damaged our brain cells. Indulging in too much alcohol, and chuckling over underage drinking has led to an addictive society where too many young people are hurting their bodies, minds, and emotions. We live in a permissive society where everything is “okay as long as nobody gets hurt.” Well, people are getting hurt. People are getting killed.
We live in a culture of self-convenience, where there are no absolutes, no real truths that last, so that we can justify our behavior and celebrate pushing the envelope a little bit more with each passing year.
No wonder many young people in our nation are confused and hurt. They have scars from their families of origin and scars from substance abuse. They are told that they are free to live in any way that they choose, and are thus burdened with trying to figure out what is right or wrong, good or bad. We have taught them that they are simply highly evolved animals, that it’s okay to kill an unborn child in the womb, that free sex with anyone is just fine, that morality is simply a human construct, and that there is no God.
We have received what we deserve.
So what can we do?
1. Repent. We must acknowledge that we have turned away from God and need to be changed, to be different people.
2. Live in grace. We cling to the Savior who entered this human race, who suffered great injustice and lived as a poor homeless man, and who was beaten and put to death in a completely vicious and illegal way. His resurrection is our hope.
3. We follow Jesus. We stand against substance abuse and underage drinking, against immorality and sexual excess and the destruction of marriage, against the idea that “I can do whatever I want.” We stand for honesty and integrity. We stand for hard work and the defense of the weak. We stand for the truth of God’s Word, for creation and redemption. We stand most of all for the Gospel, the greatest truth of them all, that God in Christ died for this broken, dying world, to give it life in Himself and His resurrection.
4. We pray. We pray for mercy from God. We pray for those who are grieving. We ask God to give us courage to follow His wisdom. We ask that He would change our culture for the better.
So we follow Jesus. We are compassionate like Him. We don’t compromise the truth, even as He did not. We care about the outcast, the one who is discarded by the world. We pray for those who lead us, even those who are doing a terrible job.
And most of all, we share the Gospel. We tell people that Jesus died to rescue us, that He rose from the dead to give us life. He really is alive.
Christ is risen. So we have hope.