Many who were listening Friday morning to news of the mind-numbing slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are still dazed, bewildered and in grief. Twenty small children lay dead, felled by a coward’s bullets, with eight adults (including the shooter and his mother) dead beside them. What has become of our society that people commit such abominable acts? How has this become the state of affairs?
The news of this atrocity out of Connecticut and the meaningless murders of so many small children and their caregivers is almost too difficult to process. These killings seem utterly inhumane, utterly separated from anything that should define what it means to be a fellow human being in the family of man. But that’s the problem. Evidence continues to grow that such motivations, whatever they may be, are increasingly more common to the human condition that we would like to imagine.
Only three days before this monstrous act, a masked gunman in a mall in Oregon opened fire with a gun killing two people and then turning the gun on himself. Earlier this year, moviegoers suffered the horror of seeing a masked gunman enter the theater and inexplicably begin a murderous rampage resulting in 12 dead and 58 injured in Colorado—the same state that experienced the Columbine High School shooting which resulted in 15 dead and 21 injured. The Columbine attack was the worst school shooting in U.S. history. The worst, that is, until this heartbreaking incident in Connecticut.
Questions about the shooter’s motivations and preparations will of course occupy people’s minds. But they will not answer the larger question of why such atrocities take place at all. What have we done with our society, and what are we doing with it now, that make it such a place as this? As the heart-rending scenes of parents inconsolable in grief and confusion continue to burn brightly in our mind’s eye, we must ask ourselves how it is that a supposedly civilized society can produce such tragedies to the extent that they begin to seem almost commonplace. Why is this so?
Jesus Christ and His apostles warned us that the times in which we live at this point in human history will be characterized by lawless attitudes in which even the simple Ten Commandments are scorned, a lack of even natural affections, an utter lack of self-control, and a spirit of cruel and selfish brutality (Matthew 24:12; 2 Timothy 3:2-3).
Our politicians endlessly debate whether convicted rapists and murders should be given a relatively merciful death in their sleep, while the laws they enforce continue to allow the wholesale slaughter of children still in their mothers’ wombs. The elite, “artistic” movie-makers of the supposedly civilized world seem to revel in the glorification of the most sickening of sadistic acts and sexual sins and perversions. The honored songwriters and bards among us flood our culture with anthems celebrating rebellion against norms and standards of almost any kind. Those who make digital “entertainment” for our children encourage them to realistically immerse themselves in the most vile and despicable acts of violence for pleasure.
A society—national or global—which has turned its back on the laws, life, and love of the One who gave those precious Laws (Isaiah 33:22), who is Life (John 14:6), and who is Love (1 John 4:8) cannot expect anything more than more of the same.
There is no hope for this world until the arrival of the Kingdom of God—the time when Jesus Christ returns to govern on this earth, to bring the peace only available through the intervention of the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. Until the world willingly accepts the benevolent rule of the returned Jesus Christ, its sons and daughters will continue to suffer the tragic consequences of this world’s sin, suffering and misrule. Thankfully, God has a plan that will provide for every human being He has created, including those whose lives are cut short by tragedies such as what we saw on Friday.
May God forgive each of us individually for any way, however small, we may have contributed to a culture that sees human life as being worth so little. May His Kingdom come soon, and may God of all comfort tend to those tragically bereaved and heartbroken in Connecticut.