I’ve waited for a few days to comment on the tragedy in Connecticut because it is so easy to jump to conclusions and write about such things without due consideration. The result is usually pious platitudes and insulting cliches.
Where was God in Sandy Hook? Just where he always is, in the midst of the mess. He’s there suffering with the victims, bearing the horror with us and weeping with those who mourn and raging with those who rage. Do you feel righteous rage at the insanity and senselessness of this evil? So does God. Now you understand what God’s wrath is like. Do you feel helpless sorrow, pity and nameless frustration in the face of such terror? So does God. Now you understand his frustration and anger at humanity’s inhumanity. Do you feel compassion and heartache, and don’t you want to do something for the people who are hurting–do just anything you can? So does God. Now you know how much he longs to come in to our lives and help us and do something for us to heal and reconcile and make things right. Don’t you feel rage and frustration and confusion and fear for the poor sick boy who pulled the trigger? Don’t you ask what made him do such a thing? What turned him into a murderous monster? God is in the middle of all the emotions–in the middle of the mess with us.
Why doesn’t he step in and stop the evil? Because he’s God and he created our race with free will. He allow us to do what we will. He does not impose his will on us–even when he sees what horrors we have planned. He did not deliver his own son from torture and death, but instead brought out of that darkness a new light for mankind. That’s how he handles it. He works endlessly and eternally to bring good out of evil, to bring light out of darkness, to bring life out of death and hope out of despair. This creative work of his is something he calls us to share in. We co-operate with this creative work of reconcilation. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation–to somehow fashion out of the horror–hope–to somehow keep on struggling against all odds to overcome the tsunami of evil that threatens to sweep over.
Where did the evil come from in the first place? You can’t blame it on a broken family. There are many kids from broken families who do not go on a killing spree. You can’t blame it on video games. Millions of kids play video games and don’t go out with guns to kill kindergarten children. You can’t blame it on guns. Millions have guns who do not kill babies. You can’t blame it on learning disabilities or being shy. There are many shy people with learning disabilities who are not killers. You can’t blame it on the devil unless there is evidence of demonic activity. We will probably never know what caused that boy to snap and go an such a senseless rampage.
However, I know one thing: our society is broken. Our world is broken. Our families are broken. For the last few decades we have indulged in evil. The evil of broken families. The evil of sexual promiscuity, and the subsequent violence of abortion. The evil of greed, and the subsequent violence of stealing from the poor. The evil of war. The evil of drugs. The evil of crime warfare. The evil of organized crime. The evil of a war mongering, world conquering mentality. The evil of forgetting God. The evil of materialism. The evil of complacency. The evil of forgetting that there is such a thing as evil. The evil of living a superficial selfish and pleasure seeking life and thinking that it is simply a nice, cheerful, “successful” American thing to do.
What I’m getting at is this: our Western society is sick–sick through and through with an insidious cancer. Just beneath the smiling surface of America there is a cancer of sin, and the symptom of this sickness is violence. I am just as horrified as the next person at the senseless murders in Connecticut, and I truly hope I am wrong, but I predict more of the same. The sickness is deep down in our culture, and it will continue to poke out it’s monstrous head (like that incubating beast the Alien movie) and ravage the land whenever it gets the chance.
This violence (and the other recent violence) has burst forth from our collective psyche. The boy who pulled the trigger is our son. He is our offspring. Beneath the surface our society is deeply unhealthy, and unless something is done to correct that sickness, the symptoms will continue to surface.
And it ain’t gonna be pretty.