Newtown, CT and Sandy Hook Elementary School. This nice little town and typical school are now known around the world, and everyone in that town wishes it otherwise.
This horrifying rampage shakes us to the core. These are children who, just that morning, were arguing with their moms about which shirt to wear; they were being rushed by their dads to get out the door so they would not miss the bus; they were hoping mom packed a good lunch. But today their little bodies are not breathing. They will not open the gifts hidden and ready for them to open next week. They will not open their lunches to read the note mom scribbled for them with x0x0 hugs and kisses. These are adults who–working at the school–were thinking about their wild, Christmas-crazy classes, wondering ahead to the plans they had for the break next week. But now their spouses and children and friends will have to say goodbye in the local funeral homes. And the world will be watching.
In the days ahead we, sadly, know what to expect: The streets of Newtown, CT will remain flooded with news crews, photographers, and journalists giving the world real-time updates on the people and stories of this awful shooting. They will tell us the details of when and where the shooter progressed through his day yesterday. We will hear testimonies from teachers within the school, neighbors, family members, etc.. We will hear experts giving a psychological analysis of the shooter (perhaps he was into violent video games or troubling music, or was socially moody and seemed “dark” and “troubled.”).
So much of this is a worldly balm designed to help us mourn and make sense of what happened. But as we grieve and mourn with these families and the community in Newtown, I hope we will do so in truth and with real hope.
Let’s face facts about this shooting: it was satanic, it was evil, we should hate it, and the only true healing for something as awful as this is a killing every bit as awful.
It was Satanic because Satan “was a murderer from the beginning(John 8)”, and he comes “only to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10a).” Satan’s driving hunger is to destroy and devour the children who are made in God’s image (Rev. 12:4). He did this work through Pharaoh in Egypt when he ordered the slaughter of the Hebrew boys, he did it through Herod when all the children 2 and under were slaughtered to protect a throne, and he does it through the abortion of millions of babies every year in our age. The murders in Sandy Hook Elem. were satanic. Period.
It was evil because there is a God who created all things, including a law defining what is right and what is wrong. Wrong is always wrong and right is always right; these moral standards will never change. Murder is wrong, it is evil.
We should hate what happened in Sandy Hook Elem. because it is evil and morally repulsive. God tells us to “hate what is evil (Romans 12:9).” The moral element in this shooting cannot be denied–even by the most ardent atheists: shooting children trapped in a school is WRONG. And it is right and good to hate this evil.
The only true healing for this evil act comes through one who was murdered on a cross. Only Christ Jesus has the power to undo the pain caused by this kind of evil. Only he can wipe away every tear from every eye. It might not happen fully in this world, but certainly it will in the next–if we come to him for our healing. He was born a little child and grew up learning and playing like all the victims of this shooting; Jesus bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). Each person killed bore the image of God; Jesus is the true and perfect image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). These murders are an awful wrong and we cannot undo it–but God can. When Jesus, born of woman and with our same human nature came in that little stable in Bethlehem it was to die on a cross; it was to destroy the works of Satan, even death itself: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8),” 1 Cor 15:26. The sure proof of his victory–and ours in him–is the empty tomb.
As we grieve and wrestle with the pain of Sandy Hook Elementary school, lets remember this: the Kingdom of God has come, the gates of hell will not stand against it, in the end this kingdom’s King will overcome all evil, and God will make all the wrongs of this world right.