Our digitally over-stimulated society has led to many benefits, but also many curses. Among the curses, I believe, is the ability of nearly anyone and everyone to publicly “respond” to newsworthy (or not so newsworthy) matters. And apparently we all, myself included, simply cannot not respond. Bad English, but you get the point! We just cannot help ourselves. We feel compelled to make sure everyone knows how we feel or what we think when a deranged young adult guns down children, for example.
Well, I have been resisting the urge. But as a Pastor, I do understand my calling from God to shepherd His flock here in Corydon. So, I want to take just a few moments to help you wrestle with some of the things circling in all of our guts and minds. Over and over again, I have heard people, many of them Christians, say “There just are no answers.”
If they mean by that phrase that we finite humans have no good or acceptable explanations for how or why such an insane event happens, then I agree. All answers that derive from human wit, will or wisdom fall woefully short. The Darwinian evolutionist would perhaps point to the fact that we should have “weeded out” such an obviously mentally disturbed young man. This is the goal of eugenics. Make a “better” human via genetic alterations and abortions and sterilizations and such. “Survival of the fittest. Kill off the weak!” And if you think that this line of reasoning is not prominent, you must get your news only from the major networks. Recently in the Journal of Medical Ethics an Oxford professor named Julian Savulescu argued that parents should be able to screen out personality flaws in their children to ensure they will not harm themselves or others. The professor wrote, “Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children.” (www.telegraph.co.uk dtd 8/16/12).
Did you catch that? Read it again! This lab-coat wise guy wants us to abort unborn babies or kill off young children who exhibit whatever he and his lab rat buddies deem “psychopathy and disposition to violence.” Homosexual behavior was once considered psychopathy, but now lab-coat professors say it is not. Definitions change among the scientific far too often, don’t they? So, we cannot look to our bio-engineers for answers to how and why those children in Newton were massacred. Apparently, some scientists would have preferred many of those kids were never allowed to be born in the first place! The Darwinist, if he is willing to stick to a pure evolutionary worldview, simply has no basis whatsoever for ethics. It’s insanity in our institutions of higher learning! That gunman was just doing what he was “programmed” by his chemicals to do, and those children were no more than just well-organized pond slime. Ho-hum. That’s how a truly consistent Darwinian sympathizes. Touching, huh?
The relativist has no good answers, either. She would have to say that the gunman who entered that school was no doubt just doing what he thought was right. There really is no objective, absolute right and wrong. So, it’s just too bad those children had to be the victims of one man’s notion of “right.” Well, that line of reasoning is sure to do nothing other than inflame and even more deeply hurt those families who are burying their precious dead loved ones. There will be no convincing them that “right and wrong” is purely subjective. They have been wronged and they know it!
Why am I going to all this trouble to discuss such matters? Because I want you to realize that the worldviews of Darwinism and relativism lead us down a path to sheer chaos. And, 98% of all Americans for the last hundred years or so have been educated in a system that has sold its very soul to those very worldviews! But, even so, it is not acceptable to try and blame school shootings strictly on the schools themselves (though I do personally oppose the entire public education edifice).
You see, in the end, this tragedy like every other one before it, is really about Christmas.
While we pitiful humans have no answer for raw, untamed violence, God does. The reason that man killed those people was because he was a sinner. He had resident evil in his heart. Sin was his master. His mind was reprobate and his desires were degrading. He was a truth suppressor and a self-worshiper (Romans 1:18-32). He killed for the same reasons Cain killed his brother Abel (1 John 3:11-12).
Lab coat professors may say the Bible’s analysis of the situation is overly simplistic. I mean, we are all sinners, the Bible says, but we do not all open fire on 1st graders. True enough. But Jesus said we are all murderers at heart (Matthew 5:21-22). While we should be thankful that God restrains the resident evil in most people to ensure most do not actually become as corrupt as they could be, the fact remains that “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). The truth is, if left unchecked by God’s grace, every one of us is capable of insane amounts of evil. Paul the Apostle put it this way, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Amen.
The reason for Christmas is the mad gunman whose soul is caged in utter darkness. The reason for Christmas is the 1st grader who had also shown his sinful depravity and rebellion towards God by repeated disobedience to parents and many other adult authorities even at such a young age (Rom 1:30). While we like to build categories of those innocent and guilty, worthy and unworthy, God says all humanity is unworthy when compared to His holiness (Romans 3:23). This does not mean the children “deserved” to become victims of this heinous crime. But, we do need to remind ourselves that all those living apart from Christ’s Lordship are under God’s just wrath (John 3:36).
So, what has this tragedy to do with Christmas? Simple. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Jesus came because sinners needed Him! The ungodly cannot reach God on their own. So, God reached down to them. Jesus came to make bad people good (not perfect this side of heaven, but good nonetheless). Jesus came to give dead people life. Jesus came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). No wonder the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest!”
Jesus does these things by giving sinners who repent and trust in Him alone His goodness, His righteousness, His wisdom, His life, His Spirit, and even His standing before Holy God! There is no political solution to sin. No amount of psychosis will eradicate sin. No genetic “screening” can alter who a person really is in his very core. Education cannot stop sin. Our problem is who we are on the inside. Our natures are held captive by this resident evil passed down to all of us by our very first parents – Adam and Eve. We are born sinners (Psalm 51:5). It is who we are that determines what we do (Mark 7:14-23). And no human solution can ever change us from the inside out.
We need a Savior! A Rescuer! A Deliverer! Someone to stand in our place before God! Someone to give us a radically new disposition and heart! The mad gunman needs a Savior. The children need a Savior too.
The Christ of Christmas is that Savior. Is He your Savior? Has He given you “new birth”? Has He made you new? Have you trusted your whole life for all eternity into His mighty care? Jesus is the Only Solution to sin. Period.
God help Newton, Connecticut and Corydon, Indiana and all the ends of the earth look to Him and live, knowing one day He will come again and “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Then and only then will murders cease!