Friday, December 14, 2012

What Will End the Hate?

I have a long list of things to do today. I can’t seem to do any of them. Maybe that’s acceptable. I am fixated on the news out of Connecticut today. The reports are early but what we know as of right now is that a 24 year old man shot his mother a kindergarten teacher as well as her class.

I can’t stomach this. I have a little boy that is 4 years old going into kindergarten next year. I have watched him play with his preschool class after I dropped him off. Such naivety and youthful vigor. I cannot image the gruesome scene at Connecticut. This one hurts because I’m wondering what if this were my little boy. After I write this I’m going to pack up my work and go home and give him a huge hug.

Rainn Wilson (from TV’s The Office) tweeted in response to the tragedy:

My heart is just broken for those poor kids! Those poor families! Praying for them & to end this hate & violence.

I think most all of us want that. To live in a world that is no longer filled with hate and violence. Or better yet to live in a world where we hate what we ought to hate and love what we ought to love. This begs a question.

What will bring that about?

Shortly after posting this Rainn Wilson’s twitter feed was filled with discussion about gun control. Undoubtedly there will be many that respond to this tragedy by saying that we ought to have better gun laws. Others will say that we need to teach our children more about tolerance, love, and acceptance instead of hate. And there may be some truth to these.

Some will blame this young man’s battle with depression. If we could only get better help to struggling teens. If we could keep them on their medicine. And there is probably an element of truth to this as well.

There will be others, people that are more from my camp, that will use this tragedy and say that we ought to have more prayer. And certainly we do. Others will blame those that have “taken God out of the schools”. They will blame our nations abandonment of Christian values. And they probably have great points too.

But I don’t think either of them really have the right answer. What will bring about the end of hatred and violence?

It’s not a “what” it’s a “Who”. Only Jesus. It’s not gun laws, though that may help. It’s not getting prayer back in schools, though that may help. None of these can do what only Jesus can; namely, usher in His kingdom. God is in the process of rooting out of His kingdom all sin and unbelief and filling it with passionate worshippers. What happened in Connecticut today was a worship problem.

School shootings will not happen in a Redeemed Eden. And it won’t be because such a land will not have guns. Nor will it be because depression is wiped away. It won’t even be because a Redeemed Eden will honor the 10 Commandments. School shooting won’t happen in a Redeemed Eden because our hearts will be finally changed. Our worship problem will be no more. We will love and esteem that which is lovely. There will be no more hatred for things that ought not be hated. Our hearts will be held captive.

In the Meantime…

But we don’t live in a Redeemed Eden, do we? We don’t yet live in a place where our hearts are fully held captive. And so we will continue to have painful tragedies, like the school shooting today. Yes, Jesus is ushering in his kingdom, but today we are still waiting. What do we do in the meantime?

  • Mourn with those who mourn. Don’t try to stick a band-aid on the problem. Comedian Jim Gaffigan had a great response when someone asked him what he was going to say to make everyone feel better. He simply wrote, “We shouldn’t”.
  • Extend the Gospel. That’s the only answer. Not moralism. Not legislature. Not medicine. People need the gospel. Everything else is but a band-aid. While band-aids might be helpful they don’t heal only Jesus does that.
  • Hug your children. Enjoy everyday of life as you have it. When the Lord gives us seasons to rejoice we had better take them. If you have children, go hug them.
  • Maranatha! Wait for, prepare for, and long for the return of Christ. He alone will set this right. Cry to Him for redemption on this day. Knowing that someday He will wipe away every tear, and tragedies like this will be no more.

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