I presume many have heard comments from famous evangelical leaders that the tragedy at Sandy Hook was directly related to the immorality of our country. I do not disagree that we need revival in America for the darkness is great. I do not disagree that our morals are in disarray.
Are we really using spiritual discernment in expressing these opinions? Do we know the mind of God so completely that we can claim to understand why He allowed this tragedy? Is the Bible even being used to defend such opinions? If Job saw the need to remain silent on the tragedy that was his life (Job 40:4), then why not us? God has a purpose in all things, but we do not always understand it.
To suggest that God allowed this for the purpose of judgment assumes we know God’s motives. What those leaders are saying is that God is mad about abortion (He is) and homosexuality (He is), SO in response, He will indirectly cause the deaths of kindergarteners and teachers, some of whom may have been believers. What? Let me be sarcastic for a moment. If these pronouncements are true, then God must not be as mad about pornography, abuse, human trafficking, pride, adultery, and other evils in this country. Let’s not choose our top two sins. Depravity is rampant. God’s wrath is real! Jesus is our only hope!
Let’s consider a biblical example of catastrophe. This is Christmas season, so let’s remind ourselves of King Herod’s murder of all those Jewish baby boys in Matthew 2:16. Do we read that story and say that God is judging Israel? Maybe He is, but it reads to me as if Herod was furious that he missed his chance to kill baby Jesus. Herod, who was full of darkness, was trying to extinguish the “Light of the World.” That darkness resulted in the deaths of many.
This tragedy is, in some ways, self-explanatory. On the face of it, we can see that evil is alive and well in America. We want to blame video games, parenting, horror movies, mental illness, gun availability, and who knows what else. But evil is at the root of this (James 1:13-15). And evil does pervade many movies, video games, parenting choices, and how we use firearms. Evil has frequently resulted in death (Cain and Abel for example). And God does not always intervene to stop this evil, but one day, He will!
Let’s consider one more example. When Jesus foresees the destruction of Jerusalem in 70A.D. that occurs as judgment from God, He…weeps (Luke19:42). It breaks His heart! He longs that the circumstances were different. The church’s love and compassion ought to be on full display in light of this tragedy. Most Americans already know the evangelical church’s stance on abortion and homosexuality. We do not need to drive those points home at a time like this. These dear families need our love, prayers, and support. Americans need to know that this shooting grieves the heart of God. Jesus was born to save us from the evil we see every day on the news and in our own lives.
I believe it honors God and the victims’ families to declare that there is great darkness in the world, but Jesus has come to bring light and life to all humanity. Let’s declare with the angels…
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”