The murder of children and adults in the Connecticut school massacre is horrifying. Many people, including myself, search for answers and explanations. Others begin to search for solutions to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. One of the most common expressions I hear is “why?” “Why innocent kindergartners?” “Why now at Christmas time”
Here are some thoughts that I hope will bless and guide you.
1) We live in a world of increasing manifestations of evil- I personally believe as we draw closer to the second coming of Christ, as the bible describes, we will see increasing levels of evil come to the surface of our culture. This is because our culture as a whole has increasily become a vehicle for it and because Satan know his days are numbered. The signs that we are nearing the second coming of Christ are becoming more and more clear from a biblical/prophetic standpoint. Unfortunately, because of these dynamics, manifestations of evil such as this school massacre will not decrease, but increase.
Who is to blame for this? Satan and, depending on the level of mental illness, the man who embraced the evil within and around him and committed these crimes. Could there be contributing factors that affected his choices like mental illness and alike? Yes, absolutely. Yet all aspects of brokenness in people (including mental illness) and our world are authored by evil. People with mental illness, in and of themselves are not evil.
In general terms, Satan can have no more power than we allow him as people and within our culture. Yet, mental illness can change that dynamic of personal responsibility dramatically, but it does not change who the bottom line author of evil is… Satan. Could the murder’s mental illness (if this is determined to be a contributing factor) have been the primary cause of his actions and beyond his ability to control? Yes, absolutely. Satan will exploit every situation to his purposes… steal, kill, and destroy.
This is why evil is so serious, and our culture would do well to take evil much more seriously. Instead, we do more to glorify it, computerize it, turn it into games, holidays, t-shirts, movies, and music and label it innocent entertainment.
Satan doesn’t pull punches, he doesn’t give a rip about your life or anyone else’s. He is the worst of the worst, and killing kindergartners days before the birth of Jesus gives him pleasure without any degree of restraint. Evil is real, it will increase in our culture, and we would turn this terrible tragedy into some good if we were to take evil much more seriously as a culture in these last days.
2) Don’t blame prayer in school-
I have already heard people blaming the lack of prayer in schools as a factor in this massacre. I would love nothing more than for prayer to be a formal opportunity within schools and a foundational aspect of our school cultures.
However, the truth is, prayer is not limited to the location from which it is prayed. Christian students, teachers, and staff can pray anywhere at anytime on behalf of their school and God will equally hear and respond. In fact, students and teachers can pray in school anytime they wish without anyone needing to notice. I don’t think that the absence of prayer in schools is the problem as much as the absence of prayer within in Christians is. Yes, there is a benefit to praying together with others at a time that is closer to or even within the time of school activities and schedules. But the power of prayer is not limited to location or timing.
As a pastor, I know that people pray all the time in church, yet emotionally, relationally, and spiritually murder people all the time as well. Prayer is absolutely powerful and critical, but it has little effect where obedience has left the building.
Don’t cast a level of blame towards the lack of prayer in schools without looking at the lack of prayer and obedience within Christians.
To that end…
3) It begins and ends in the family-
We may never truly come to understand the motives or secondary sources (evil being the primary) behind this man’s horrific actions. Yet, I can tell you at the end of the day, there is likely going to be discovered some kind of significant breakdown in what was or wasn’t happening within the family. More so than not, these kind of actions don’t happen within a vacuum when younger people are behind the wheel. Parenting and parents can’t be the sole blame, but they can be (and often are) a significant contributing factor. This may or may not be the case in this incident, but it shouldn’t be surprising if it is.
Truth be told, you don’t have to convince teachers that there is a serious crisis in parenting and families within our culture today. Our solution as a culture has been to make teachers, school systems, after school programs and alike to take the burden and responsibility for parents. From food to clothes, from basic hygiene to behavioral discipline, you name it and schools and teachers are having to do it. Parents, like never before, can outsource their parenting responsibilities. And unfortunately, many do so. It has even come to a level where the government, school boards, and agencies are beginning to try to take what are parenting responsibilities from parents. With policies that prevent parents from knowing the choices their children are making in schools, the breakdown of parenting and family is at an all time high within our culture.
When it comes to the manifestations of evil within our culture, Satan has done a great job at paving the way for doing so by breaking down the family and parenting within our culture. Further than that, he has broken down the values from which parents need to parent in order to raise responsible, behaving, and productive children. Just spend some time in Walmart and watch the lack of respect children have for their parents, and parents have for their parenting and children and you will see exactly what I am talking about. With models of parenting like Homer Simpson and the Osbournes, should we be surprised?
4) We need Jesus and His Kingdom more than ever-
We can’t solve our problems. Gun control, larger government, and new laws will only bandaid the problem, if not make them worse. We cannot govern ourselves and will fail every time we try to manage our own lives and culture in a broken world. Don’t expect laws, policies, new strategies and government to be able to solve these horrific problems within our society.
That’s why we need Jesus and His Kingdom. God’s grace through Jesus Christ is the only true King in our lives. And His Kingdom, the only true Government that can solve our problems and enable us to have life everlasting in peace and harmony.
More so, now than ever, we need to experience God’s grace, through faith, that makes us into a completely new person, with a new identity, and thus a new life. An obedience problem is really an identity problem, and identity problem is really a grace problem. Only God, through Jesus, can give us the grace we all need to have true life.
This is the solution, the only solution. May an event like this, help us all to see, understand, and believe.
Please join me in praying for all involved, may God give peace and healing.