Dec

14

2012

Jen Wilkin|4:53 PM CT

A Day for Hatred

Today is a day for hatred.

As I write this article, the death count stands at 20 children. Twenty. Twenty babies who got on a bus or walked out a door or stepped out of a car at the drop-off curb and are never coming home.

Father in heaven, their lunchboxes still hold uneaten sandwiches, unread love notes scrawled on napkins.

For 20 families, the worst fear a parent can know was waiting at the other end of a phone line today. Eleven days before Christmas, no less. Those children and teachers who survived will carry in their heads sights and sounds that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

And what comfort is there to offer them? What words are there to speak? A parent takes every measure possible to protect a child, though we know full well the world is not safe. But this?

There is no spin to put on a story like this. Yes, we will hear stories of heroism begin to emerge over the next hours, and they are stories we will need to hear. But there is no way to soften the blow.

Nor should we want to.

As a mother watching someone else's horror play out on a screen, I want to feel this to the core of my being. I want it to inform my thoughts and actions in a way that leaves me changed. Because on days like today we learn just how broken sin has left us, just how bleak is our landscape without a Savior.

Days like today give us no choice but to hate. They leave us only with a choice of where that hatred will land: Will we hate God, or will we hate sin?

I choose to hate sin. On days like today I will reflect again on the ravaging effects of rebellion against God, multiplied across millennia, manifested in a freshly printed headline. The more shocking the headline, the more I must come to grips with my minimized reckoning of the severity of sin. With Nehemiah I will cry out, "I and my fathers have sinned," freshly grieved over the sins of others---yes---but freshly grieved over my own sin as well. I have not pulled a trigger, but I have harmed my share of victims. The killer lies dead, but I live on to harm again. On days like today I will renew my resolve not to participate in tearing down what God pronounced good at the dawn of human existence. I cannot stop a murderer, but by the grace of God I can stop sinning against those he has given into my care.

I cannot offer a snippet of Scripture or a platitude to comfort those families, or to comfort you, my fellow believers. The day of our comfort is a future one. All I can offer is to hate my sin more deeply than I did yesterday and to cry out to God for a time when the groaning of this creation gives birth to that which is once again good. If hope ever transects hatred, it is here. In a few hours my own children will walk through my front door, God willing. I can be a mother who loves deeply and unselfishly in a world that is not safe. Surely that is the least I can do for these precious lives.

Today is a day for hatred. Today is a day for the weight of our sin to be felt in full force. May our hearts break under the blow. May they be shattered to dust.

Jen Wilkin is a wife, mom to four great kids, and an advocate for women to love God with their minds through the faithful study of his Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches women the Bible. She lives in Flower Mound, Texas, and her family calls The Village Church home. Jen is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds (Crossway, forthcoming). You can find her at jenwilkin.blogspot.com.

  • http://adam4d.com Adam Ford

    Very, very well said.

  • CG

    This is so powerful.

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  • Lara

    Strong and truthful words, thank you

  • Mark

    With innocence lost in such a brutal way, I'm very thankful how you approached this tragedy honestly. We simply cannot go through the same cycle of "we need more gun laws, that criminal was crazy, or we need to catch these people before they get loose" but this is the fruit of sin and we need to examine this ourselves. And be real with the grief of the families. I'm in total mourning with them. I will never know their wailing, laments, and emptiness, but I hope that in their mourning they will find hope in the Conquering King...and in the soft embrace of the Savior who mourns the loss of these children.

    I know that I too have harmed many image bearers of God too, by simply thinking about murder. Yes, that is why Jesus attacks the heart, not our actions. (Matthew 15:19) We have unclean hearts, not just hands...all before our Holy God we have a debt that is universe-wide. Until Jesus came to save us.

    Thank you for your honesty. I too choose with you, my sister, in hating my sin, and telling others about the cure for sin and deathly, namely, the Son. (Hebrews 1)

  • Darren Blair

    I hail from Copperas Cove, Texas.

    2001 was my junior year at Copperas Cove High School. During that year, four bomb threats were called in over the course of a one-month span (give or take). I remember the chaos and confusion that took place, especially since the first threat was called in about half an hour before school started and so most of the faculty and staff weren't there yet to help serve as authority figures towards the student body. It's a wonder none of us were killed that day. (There were injuries, though - an ambulance had to be called to pick up a student, but I never did learn why. I myself got my arm scratched up something fierce when I took a barrel roll down a slope.) Fortunately, one of my brothers was on campus that day as a substitute teacher and so I was ultimately able to catch a ride home with him.

    11 years later, and it's "nine threats in two weeks". The district halted classes early Wednesday morning, meaning that the kids have been sitting at home for three days straight rather than having the opportunity to practice for their semester exams. Classes are *supposed* to resume Monday.

    And now this.

    What kind of world are we in where kids can't even feel safe at school?

  • http://nihaoyall.com Stefanie

    Thank you for sharing in a way that speaks to my heart so very clearly. God has been dealing with my sin for weeks and this is a reminder that we all need to look into our own hearts - and realize our desperate need for Jesus - and deal with what we find there first.

  • http://prayernotesbycynthia.blogspot.com Cynthia

    Today, I wept, openly, for the hearts of the parents who lost their children. I felt this tragedy to my core and felt so sick and hurt. I also wept for the person who felt the need to kill and hurt others in order to deal with his sin, pain and emptiness. What will each of us do to make sure that we recognize and reach out to folks that are screaming for help? How many times have I felt someone's pain and kept on walking? Maybe, I was too afraid or felt that it wasn't my place to help them.... I know that I will try harder...pray for more courage to reach out and comfort. Staying in prayer for the families that have had their children torn-away...praying that this terrible tragedy will, somehow, bring the community closer and make them stronger. I can only imagine the grief....And, Jen, you are right: The sin sits in all of our laps. What will do with it? Will we learn from this and repent or will we sweep it under the rug and sit it in the lap of, "not my problem?"

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  • Louise

    Today I am filled with Love. I am determined and choose to release the love of Jesus in me even more powerfully, passionately and purposefully....to put my arms around a broken and confused world...that is hurting and mourning. I do this with anger directed towards an unseen Enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. I purpose to love today!! Our hearts go out to those at Sandy Brook Primary.
    2

  • Kelly Beeson

    A sobering reminder! My first thought when I heard the news of this unspeakable tragedy today was a prayer ... "Oh Lord, I am so sorry that we are such sinful people!"

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  • Len

    At risk of sounding unpastoral: dang! and ouch!!! and thanks.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell

    With heads bowed under the inexplicable agony of this tragedy, we long for the day when we can say, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4).

  • http://Www.corinthtoday.org Paul Cummings

    I do hope that there is however a great meaningful conversation on TGC and in churches about guns in America. We spend a heckuva lot of time on abortion but we are strangely silent about guns, and I wonder why this is?

    • http://thenface2face.wordpress.com Karen Butler

      Your comment was jarring, and really inappropriate amidst all the wails of grief. Jenn writes, "watching someone else's horror play out on a screen, I want to feel this to the core of my being. I want it to inform my thoughts and actions in a way that leaves me changed. Because on days like today we learn just how broken sin has left us, just how bleak is our landscape without a Savior."

      Try that instead of seeking out a wonky debate.

      Jenn, this was magnificently said. I just wish I had not read the comments. I am going to share this with my teen sons, to help them make sense of it all.

      • http://Www.corinthtoday.org Paul Cummings

        Karen, I totally understand what you're saying... Just as Christ admonished the disciples after the collapse of the tower of Siloam. However, like the Oregon shooting, VT shooting, the Colorado movie theater shooting...etc etc etc... TGC has taken this same tact...which is very appropriate...I agree. I simply wonder aloud when we will be willing to talk about the cultural issue of guns?

        • steve hays

          It would help if you didn't begin with the patronizing assumption that Christians who support the right to bear arms don't have a considered position on the subject. Do you really think such Christians are unfamiliar with the stock objections to private gun ownership?

          • http://www.corinthtoday.org paul Cummings

            Steve,
            I own 2 hunting rifles so I'm one of those people ;-)
            I just make the outloud question of "Why hasn't this been brought up in a big way, considering the magnitude of these tragedies?"

            Is it because it's "UnAmerican"?
            Is it basically a fear issue? (which means we're trusting our guns and not our God)

            I'm just absolutely astonished that the "Gun control issue" is so quickly swept aside by a group that loves to debate things to the Nth degree, but for some reason won't head on address this one.

            • steve hays

              paul Cummings

              "Is it basically a fear issue? (which means we're trusting our guns and not our God)"

              That's a fatalistic false dichotomy. Trusting God doesn't mean we become pacifists or unilaterally disarm, as if we should expect God to miraculously swoop in to protect our loved ones when we refuse to act responsibly on their behalf.

            • http://www.corinthtoday.org paul Cummings

              certainly,
              we would say the same for medicine as well.

              But you get at the underlying meaning of my point. I have heard the argument passionately presented many times before "The only way to stop an armed bad guy is with an armed good guy"

              this however is the greatest fallacy in the debate. For it is continually evidenced again and again, that you simply can't stop an attack like this with someone else with a gun.
              By your logic the only way then would simply be to arm everyone so that at any given time that there was a "bad guy" around, there'd also be a "good guy with a gun".

              How is that not replacing faith with fear? You have placed your security in the idea that "if something does go down, I'll be ready".
              It gives you a false sense of security, but doesn't stop evil.
              Rather you've combatted evil by getting on it's level.

            • steve hays

              paul Cummings

              "I have heard the argument passionately presented many times before 'The only way to stop an armed bad guy is with an armed good guy.' this however is the greatest fallacy in the debate."

              How is that fallacious? How does an unarmed man stop an armed man? The teachers at the school couldn't stop him because they had nothing to stop him with.

              You haven't presented a practical alternative.

              "For it is continually evidenced again and again, that you simply can't stop an attack like this with someone else with a gun."

              That's a nonsensical assertion. Policemen, soldiers, and sharpshooters do that all the time.

              "By your logic the only way then would simply be to arm everyone so that at any given time that there was a 'bad guy' around, there'd also be a 'good guy with a gun'."

              Why the scare quotes? Do you think a policeman and a sniper are morally equivalent?

              "How is that not replacing faith with fear?"

              Fear can be rational. Fear can motivate people to take reasonable precautions for the future.

              "You have placed your security in the idea that 'if something does go down, I'll be ready'."

              What's wrong with being ready for possible eventualities? Preparation doesn't guarantee success, but lack of preparation almost guarantees failure.

              "It gives you a false sense of security, but doesn't stop evil. Rather you've combatted evil by getting on it's level."

              You're morally confused. Using a gun isn't inherently good or evil. It's when you use it that's morally germane.

            • http://www.corinthtoday.org paul Cummings

              I think we're talking "passed" each other.

              I'm striving to understand your points and see how they can possibly jive with anything in the Gospel.

              To answer your questions about 'presenting an alternative' the main alternative is severely limiting the purchase and sale of certain types of fire arms and recovering those that are out there.

              If you say "But Criminals will always be able to get one..." notice that you've conceded the battle before it actually has ever happened.

              Look at any other 1st world country and see how exponentially high our death by gun rate is compared to everyone else.

              We had close to 11,000 deaths, the next closest country to us is 58 in Israel.

              And somehow "more guns" is the answer?
              I just can't see how that is the answer...nor can I find a shred of Biblical text to support that rationale.

            • steve hays

              paul Cummings

              “I'm striving to understand your points and see how they can possibly jive with anything in the Gospel.”

              i) To begin with, I’ve simply been responding to you on your own terms.

              ii) Second, using force, including lethal force, if need be, to protect the innocent from wanton killers jives quite nicely with my idea of the Gospel.

              “To answer your questions about 'presenting an alternative' the main alternative is severely limiting the purchase and sale of certain types of fire arms and recovering those that are out there.”

              i) We also outlaw hard drugs. And we pour enormous resources into the enforcement of drug laws. That hasn’t prevented controlled substances from being readily available in every suburb, small town, and big city in America. So what makes you think beefing up gun-control laws would prevent a massacre like this?

              ii) In addition, horror stories cut both ways. What about the homeowner who shoots an assailant to protect his wife and kids, only to be arrested and indicted for violating a gun ban, as well as being sued by the recovering perp for violating the perp’s civil rights? And that isn’t just hypothetical.

              What about the woman who can’t carry a gun in her purse to protect herself from her stalker ex-boyfriend?

              “Notice that you've conceded the battle before it actually has ever happened.”

              No, I’m simply distinguishing a realistic way to fight the battle from your utopian bromides.

              “Look at any other 1st world country and see how exponentially high our death by gun rate is compared to everyone else.”

              You might also consider rates of suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction in some other 1st world countries. It isn’t pretty. There are many ways to die besides a gunshot wound.

              “We had close to 11,000 deaths, the next closest country to us is 58 in Israel.”

              You’re comparing a country of 8 million with a country of 312 million.

              Moreover, your comparison backfires. Israel is a highly armed society, given the percentage of the population serving in the military. So if you think guns are the source of the problem, think again.

              “And somehow ‘more guns’ is the answer?”

              i) I didn’t say that’s the answer. There is no one answer.

              ii) In fact, there is no solution. Not all human problems are soluble. Rather, it’s a question of how best to manage certain problems.

              “I just can't see how that is the answer...nor can I find a shred of Biblical text to support that rationale.”

              There’s plenty of biblical evidence regarding social duties to protect the weak and helpless.

    • Michael

      Paul- the bigger issue here is that it's not a gun issue it's a sin issue

      • http://Www.corinthtoday.org Paul Cummings

        Yes...I totally get that for Pete's sake. However the same time yesterday a man in China went into a school with a knife and stabbed 22 people, all wounded...none dead. Can we not talk about the specifics of the sin and not just the big picture...I think we all get that here on TGC.

  • Michael

    Sister in Christ- thank you

  • Steve D

    Sorry, using this event as a reminder that we are all sinners just doesn't cut it for me. I am indeed a sinner, but you don't see me mowing down babies. As an overseas missionary I have lived in cultures that seemed quite godless and enslaved to sin but no one was mowing down babies with automatic weapons. This is a very specific modern, mostly American, malady and needs a more specific response than to throw up our hands and say, "yup, we sure are sinners".

    • http://Www.corinthtoday.org Paul Cummings

      Thanks steve, that's more in line with how I see it too.

    • J

      I'd caution you against thinking you'd never do something so terrible. This is a visible, horrendous, widespread sin. Do not, however, think yourself more righteous than the gunman or above this sin. The reason this is not you is because you've been shown grace. In an instant an accident could alter your brain chemistry and leave you susceptible to erratic, violent behavior. I'm not at all saying the gunman needs to be let off the hook. But please don't forget to extend grace in times like this where those who don't know Christ need to see it most.

      I agree that we are a culture that has access to guns that others do not. We are also a culture that gets news out far and fast, and puts the names of these gunmen in lights (admittedly in infamy, but in lights nonetheless). Both are a problem, but that's politics, not Gospel.

      • Steve D

        I keep reading people who warn against "politicizing" the Connecticut massacre by discussing gun control. Sorry, I don't discuss gun control as a political issue but as a spiritual one. To quote Martin Luther, "Whatever your heart trusts in--that is your God". If we are a nation that trusts in the gun as the basis of our personal security and even as the foundation of our freedom, then we've got a deep, deep spiritual problem that must be addressed.

        • Michael

          Steve I wonder if our hearts trusts in violence rather then guns. We are a violent Society. I might be reaching here but Jesus said for those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. In our culture we live off of greed, pride and violence.

          Hmmmm just a thought,

          • Steve D

            Right...I was using guns as a concrete symbol of our national belief in violence. Protestants have this amazing ability to compartmentalize life. I trust God for my spiritual security, my bank account for my financial security, and the military and police and my gun for personal safety. In the Bible we are expected to place ALL our security in God alone.

            • Dave H

              Well Said +1

        • Darren Blair

          In a perfect world, weapons wouldn't be needed.

          But we live in an imperfect world.

          As part of it, people need to be able to protect themselves and their own.

          • Steve D

            But I believe that it is precisely in this imperfect world that we are called to follow Jesus who said "do not repay evil with evil, but repay evil with good", and "love your enemies" and "if someone strikes you on one cheek turn to them the other". Are we supposed to wait to follow Jesus until we live in a perfect world?

            • steve hays

              Protecting grade school kids from deranged killers isn't returning evil for evil. Is that really so difficult for you to grasp?

            • zilch

              How would you protect these children, Steve? Arm every teacher?

              This poor crazed kid came into the school with a semi-automatic rifle. Is there any reason for civilians to be allowed to have semi-automatic rifles? Should the teachers have them too?

              I'm not against gun ownership per se. My grandfather and uncle both hunted, and I can see the necessity in some parts of the world (not here in Austria) for families to have guns for self protection. But the US has gone way too far in the direction of making it easy for wackos to get deadly weapons.

            • Darren Blair

              You do realize that the guns actually belonged to the mother, right?

              She had them legally, and he somehow stole them.

            • zilch

              And it was a good thing that the mother legally had a semi-automatic rifle? How was this a good thing? How many lives are saved because mothers in America have semi-automatic rifles? How many are lost?

            • Darren Blair

              My point is that a lot of the people arguing about gun control miss the fact that the shooter didn't own the weapons, but rather stole them from someone else.

              As such, the laws in place actually worked... in the sense that the shooter had to go elsewhere.

              That says "we need to look at the shooter's motivations".

            • zilch

              Darren- I don't disagree. But I still don't see why any civilian should be able to own a semi-automatic rifle. People do steal things, and crazy people who are armed with deadly weapons will do more harm than if they don't have such weapons. Better gun control might not have prevented this. But it does demonstrably statistically help prevent this sort of thing.

              But yes, of course: we also need to look at the shooter's motivations. And mental state. And social conditions. Everything needs to be considered so that we can prevent this kind of tragedy as well as we can.

            • steve hays

              zilch

              "How would you protect these children, Steve? Arm every teacher?"

              I don't think there's a general solution. Some types of schools are at higher risk of gun violence than others. Inner city schools are more prone to that than rural schools. A violent neighborhood spills over into schools.

              Likewise, high schools are at higher risk of gun-toting students than elementary schools. And some inner city schools, with 5000-8000+ students, are the size of miniature cities.

              But then you have violence that comes into the school from outsiders rather than students.

              The need for psychiatric intervention has been discussed. However, that's dicey. Many teenagers act neurotic. That's a common adolescent phase.

              If you think outlawing "semi-automatic" rifles will make them unobtainable, you're terribly naive. We outlaw hard drugs, and devote enormous resources to enforcing drug laws, yet that doesn't prevent illegal drugs from being easy to get.

            • zilch

              Steve- of course you won't be able to completely stop access to weapons by outlawing them. But you will be able to hinder access and improve matters. Gun control laws are not perfect and don't prevent crime completely, but they do demonstrably help.

              Following your reasoning, Steve, there's no point in outlawing anything, is there? Or do you feel you have a God-given right to own a semi-automatic rifle?

            • steve hays

              You're disregarding the fact that guns save lives as well as take lives. Guns can be used to commit crimes, but guns can also be used to prevent crimes–including civilian gun use (not to mention the police).

            • zilch

              Of course guns can be used to save lives as well, steve- no one has said any differently. The question is, are more lives saved or lost when, say, civilians are allowed to buy semi-automatic rifles. I think the answer is pretty obvious.

            • steve hays

              zilch

              "Of course guns can be used to save lives as well, steve- no one has said any differently."

              To the contrary, there's a commenter on this thread who emphatically denied that.

              "The question is, are more lives saved or lost when, say, civilians are allowed to buy semi-automatic rifles."

              Many people who oppose "semi-automatic rifles" don't own guns, much less semi-automatic rifles. Many couldn't tell the difference between a "semi-automatic rifle" and a squirt gun. So we need to have an accurate definition for starters.

              "I think the answer is pretty obvious."

              Actually it's not. For one thing, the media underreports lives saved by guns while hyping lives taken by guns.

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  • Thomas B

    Amen.

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  • Greg

    Perhaps you could offer a snippet of Scripture or platitude of comfort, but I'm so glad you didn't
    Thank you for this

  • John L

    Thanks for the great article. I'm sorry to see the division in our faith community being displayed through political talking points masquerading as intelligent discourse. Where is the humility and Love?

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  • Peter Christiansen

    Although I am not a deeply religious person in the traditional sense, I really appreciate your expression and thoughts. This is a time for grief, a time for self exploration, a time to question, a time to be angry, and yes, a time to hate. It is not, as so many people are already turning, a time for gun debate, pro or con, or a time to debate religion in the schools as Mike Huckabee stumbled into. Save that for another day.

    Tragedy has exploded into so many peoples lives. You are right, there is no way to soften the blow. But if readers are looking for something positive to do, send a note to the first responders who had to walk face on into this tragedy. Thank them for their service. No one should have to deal with what will pollute their minds for who knows how long. My love to all.

    Newtown Police Department
    3 Main Street
    Newtown, CT 06470

    Connecticut State Police
    Public Information Office
    1111 Country Club Road
    Middletown, Connecticut 06457

    Sandy Hook Vol. Fire and Rescue
    PO Box 783
    18-20 Riverside Rd
    Sandy Hook, CT 06482

    Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
    77 Main St.
    Newtown CT 06470

  • http://www.seedbed.com jd walt

    Days like today give us no choice but to hate. They leave us only with a choice of where that hatred will land: Will we hate God, or will we hate sin?

    Jenn

    you have done a nice job at writing a stirring article; but you have created a false dilemma for your readers with the statement excerpted above. Perhaps you are right with respect to the depravity of the human condition, but there is no Gospel in your two choices.

    What about the choice of whether to "Love God," in the wake of unimaginable tragedy? What about the choice to love those who have been so utterly devastated by this senseless act of violence?

    You strike me as a good thinker and a good writer, but I think what disappoints me most with this post is the way it quickly jumps from being about the tragedy in Sandy Hook to being about you and us (even under the auspices of our sin) Perhaps the best way we can hate sin is to deny sin it's most deceptive strategy-- that of turning the tragedies of others into thoughts about ourselves-- no matter how self-deprecating (or true) those thoughts may be.

    These days are not days for hatred. Hatred will get us absolutely nowhere. These are days for the Gospel. They are days for the supernatural Love of the Son of God to be made manifest by the power of the Holy Spirit through His Church in the World. They are certainly not days to underestimate the power and effect of sin and evil, that is quite evident to us all. What must be made more evident is the Gospel's way of overcoming evil with good.

    Sure-- I don't want to set up another false dilemma by suggesting that one must choose between hating sin and loving God and neighbor. You are quite right about our depravity, it just seems like that depravity is further empowered when we take such an event as this and make it all about that. That's all.

    thanks for opening yourself to such critique.

    jd walt

  • Mark G

    Such an event certainly gives us a greater sense of the depths of sin but even more it should cause us to look to Christ, especially his death and resurrection. Christ is our ownly hope for horrendous evil.

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  • http://www.lambpower.net Steve Dawson

    On Tuesday, my wife and I will go back to our jobs at Newtown Public Schools. My wife, who is an Educational Assistant (at another school in the district), will go back to working with a 9 year old Downs Syndrome student who will have an idea of what happened at Sandy Hook. Not to mention the other students who she interacts with as part of her job. I will have to go back to my job in IT support knowing that 7 people who I worked with died about 2 miles from my office in a building that I was in about 24 hours before.

    Hating sin is one thing, however, I believe that we also have hope.Our hope is not just for the future, but for comfort in the present. Your vision is very bleak.I believe that the Bible offers more than your bleakness.

  • Neophytos

    First thing I thought after reading this article in the news was, praise the Lord for the freedom to homeschool in this nation.

    • Mel

      Because that guarantees what?

      That your children will live happily ever after without anything bad ever happening to them? Did Jesus promise that? Or did He promise that we would have trouble in this world?

      Can I remind you of what the sin was with the Tower of Babel? God said to go out and fill the earth. They decided to bunch up and stay in a nice place instead.
      What did Jesus tell us to do before going up to the Father?

    • Pam

      First, ugh, your comment is almost callous towards those killed. Second, the gunman was homeschooled, so apparently homeschooling isn't the perfect little haven you think it is.

  • http://www.nomoreordinary.wordpress.com Sarah

    My head and heart have been a mess ever since hearing about it yesterday. My biggest concern right now is that we are looking to the wrong things for protection from such tragedy in the future. I think what is at stake is a core issue that has evolved from a cultural abandonment of Scriptural truths. Here are some thoughts on the aching in our hearts and ways in which we might approach this grievous crime from a godly perspective: http://nomoreordinary.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/27-graves/

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  • bob in In

    Brilliant and encouraging. Thanks.

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  • Joy

    I had a wise South Dakota preacher say once that legitimizing no fault divorce is "legitimizing " murder. I know that sounds like quite a leap, but the trickle down effect of hatred in the breaking of the closest human bond is staggering. Long term hatred and anger over brokenness is having a chilling effect. I am afraid we are so used to divorce in our society that we can't see it for what it is and what it does. God says "I hate divorce," and He wasn't kidding. I also wonder if that boy got bullied in school?

    Gun control laws are ok to talk about I suppose in a culture of human beings out of control ...not unlike other social controls we use to limit acces to those things that uncontrolled sinful people misuse. But real issue is the hate in that boys heart. I applaud all parents, pastors, school counselors who see many of these threats amd are working and praying to help young people in particular face the anger in their lives. As the church let us continue to hold up the light of the gospel of forgiveness so hearts can be changed

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  • Lydia Smith

    In 1996, a young man took an arsenal of automatic weapons to a tourist attraction in Port Arthur Tasmania (in Australia, where I am writing from). He shot and killed 35 people, some of them children. Our nation was utterly grief stricken. I remember a Christian friend saying to me on the day of the massacre "It makes you doubt your faith, doesn't it?". In all honesty I had to say that actually it didn't. Although I wanted to shout "Why?" along with everyone else, I felt that Scripture tells us that this is a broken, messed up, horrible world where terrible, unjust, unspeakable things happen. Our hearts are broken for all the families of Sandy Hook. What an appalling Christmas it will be for them. Thankyou Lord for loving us so much that you were willing to enter the filth of this world as a child yourself. Thankyou that you have paved the way to a better hope, a better future, a better world where there will be no more tears and no more pain and no more death.
    Many here have talked about the causes of this awful thing. Of course it is an outcome of sin in the world. Of course no laws can fully stop violent crime.
    But may I respectfully suggest that the time has come for the US to think about the rights of its children rather than the rights of gun owners. After Port Arthur, the federal government in Australia - a very conservative right wing government - acted almost immediately. New restrictions were placed on types of weapons and a gun "buy back" scheme was introduced. Hundreds of thousands of weapons were destroyed. The government faced flak from the gun lobby, but the sentiments of the majority of Australians agreed that if this could save even a few lives, it was worth it. I know that Australia is a very different place to the US, but we have had only one (to my knowledge) mass shooting since 1996.
    In addition, nobody in their wildest dreams would consider that their freedoms had been infringed by such a move.
    I am praying that the US government will be courageous and do something to safeguard the right of people to work, learn and play without fear.
    I know that guns don't kill people. I know that people kill people. But these people are those who have access to weapons of mass murder.

    • steve hays

      That's a knee-jerk feel-good reaction.

      i) You disregard the fact that guns save lives as well as take lives.

      ii) You also overlook obvious counterexamples. For instance, military service is compulsory for Jewish men and women in Israel. That means most Israelis have or have had access to guns. And not just any old guns, but military-grade weaponry. Yet Israel has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

      Conversely, England has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the world, yet England also has one of the highest crime rates in the EU, including gun-related crimes.

      • Dave H

        Such a cowardly response. Where is Jesus in your argument? You are not focusing on things above, and your position certainly does not reflect the teaching of Sctipture. You go run and cower with your gun while people with real faith try and take the lead on this issue. At the end of the day, Scripture teaches pacifism, and our end goal is a place of peace. Not peace down the barrel of a gun, but peace in Christ, and the two do not and cannot coexist.

        This is not a feel good response, it is an intelligent one that has shown real results. Unlike your stance on guns, which only shows an increasing body count.

        1. Guns do not save lives. Their sole purpose is to kill. Guns are not defensive, they are inherently offensive.

        2. Not even close to a comparison. But even so, I'll grant you Israel and Switzerland as long as every gun owner has to spend at least two years in the military learning how to use them. That way, there might still be cowards hiding behind their guns, but hopefully they won't be killing their seven year old while they get into their truck.

        3. Don't even try to compare the state of the US to any other nation. When it comes to gun related crimes, by any measure, the US dwarfs any other nation in the world, and most nations in the world combined.

        tl;dr Your argument is invalid. Go read Scripture again.

        • steve hays

          Dave H

          "Such a cowardly response. Where is Jesus in your argument? You are not focusing on things above, and your position certainly does not reflect the teaching of Sctipture."

          To the contrary, Scripture is full of admonitions to protect the weak and defenseless.

          "You go run and cower with your gun while people with real faith try and take the lead on this issue. At the end of the day, Scripture teaches pacifism, and our end goal is a place of peace."

          Pacifism would lead to thousands of school children dying at the hands of wanton killers, while you wave daisies.

          Murderers aren't pacifists. If you unilaterally disarm, they won't return the favor.

          "Not peace down the barrel of a gun, but peace in Christ, and the two do not and cannot coexist."

          When Jesus comes back, he will return as a warrior-king, subjugating his enemies by force and consigning them to hell. Not very pacifistic, if you ask me.

          "1. Guns do not save lives. Their sole purpose is to kill. Guns are not defensive, they are inherently offensive."

          Your claim is preposterous. Of course guns can save lives. If a police sharpshooter caps a schoolyard sniper, he saves the lives of innocent school children whom the sniper would otherwise slaughter with impunity.

          "2. Not even close to a comparison. But even so, I'll grant you Israel and Switzerland as long as every gun owner has to spend at least two years in the military learning how to use them. That way, there might still be cowards hiding behind their guns, but hopefully they won't be killing their seven year old while they get into their truck."

          You've just conceded that access to guns doesn't correlate with high rates of gun-related crimes.

          It isn't "cowardly" to defend your dependents.

          BTW, brave pacifists don't live very long. So why are you still alive? Because you avoid testing your pacifism in truly dangerous situations. Buy a ticket to Mogadishu and practice your pacifism there.

          "3. Don't even try to compare the state of the US to any other nation. When it comes to gun related crimes, by any measure, the US dwarfs any other nation in the world, and most nations in the world combined."

          Since you can't refute the examples I've given, you resort to bluster.

          • Pam

            Actually, your Israel and Switzerland examples are utterly false. Both countries have higher than average rates if gun murder and gun suicide. Australia, the UK, and Japan, by contrast - all of whom have introduced strict gun control in the last couple of decades - have seen very real drops in gun crime. Those are real facts.
            Also, I'd turn your snarky Mogadishu comment back on you. If you so clearly adore your guns, head over there yourself and shoot to your heart's content.

            • steve hays

              i) I didn't use Switzerland as an example. Try to keep track of who said what.

              ii) You're conflating gun murder and gun suicide to inflate the figures.

              iii) You're equivocating. "Higher than average rates" compared to what?

              iv) Of course, Israel has a serious terrorism problem, so that's going to elevate the figures. But your objection is a diversionary tactic. If you correlate homicide with access to guns, then you have to explain why Israel has much lower rates of homicide than the US even though Israel has compulsory military service for all Jewish men and women.

              Likewise, Canada has about the same per capita gun ownership as the US, but with lower rates of homicide. So, once again, that debunks the facile correlation.

              And I've read reports that anti-gun policies in Australia and the UK have failed.

              As to "adoring" guns, you're assuming I even own a gun. Don't make ignorant assumptions.

  • Michael

    Please forgive me, I came on the blog thinking that I knew better and that hating sin should be our response. I was wrong in this regard. Hating sin is good but when that becomes your God then you have an idol.

    I believe we should look at our hope in Christ:

    3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
    4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
    5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

    Rev21: 3-5

    No more mourning- crying- no more shootings, no more talk about gun control. We will worship our savior together, we as a family will come together.. There is our hope :)

    Also I will leave you with this:

    2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
    3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
    Phil 2:2-3

  • Emma R Bergman

    I have an eight year old grand son and a six year old grand daughter. So there is tears in my eyes for the needless shooting. I feel that if parents and grand parents would go in and fight to get GOD back in the schools this is the answer. When GOD was taken out that is when shootings begin. Think about it! Our children are in a new and terrible world now mean and cruel and heartless. They are so deeply involved with the internet the terrible games and music, the comics they watch on TV to pull them into the dark. And we wonder why the mind is being programed. We send our kids to the computer to who knows where they are going left alone in sometimes an evil place. We must stand for up or keep falling down. SO now while the pain is deep and raw we need to fight a good fight. America needs to cry out to JESUS. My heart is sadden for the lose of GOD being threw out of schools. I say GOD help us and Forgive us for our sins . Cover our children with your love shield them from the evil one. So lets stand up for GOD. Then watch the Way Maker work. Don't forget to pray over your children day and night for protection.

    • Steve D

      So our response to these killings should be to repeal the First Amendment? You know many countries do not have religion in their schools and you don't see them have mass murders in their schools.

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  • Suzan

    Thank you. I needed to hear your words.

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  • zilch

    How about some numbers, steve? Here are some for you: according to the latest figures, the murder rate in the US is currently 4.2 per 100,000 inhabitants per year. In Austria, where I live, the rate is one-seventh of that, 0.6 per 100,000 per year. Granted, there are other differences between the countries besides gun control (which is very strict here). Another factor is distribution of wealth: the countries with larger income differences between rich and poor also tend to be more violent.

    It's your choice: between God-given rights to whatever weapons your hearts desire, and more living children.

    • steve hays

      The problem with your selective stats is that, over at my blog, I've been giving comparative national stats as well. There is no neat correlation between access to guns and rates of gun-related homicide.

      • zilch

        The correlation is not neat in the sense of being the only factor, as I already mentioned, steve. Your exceptions of high gun ownership with low homicide, Israel and Switzerland, are both countries which require military training for anyone who gets a weapon- this is obviously also a mitigating factor. Obviously racial, ethnic, religious, and financial factors also play a role.

        But so does gun control. The combination of the racial, ethnic, religious, and financial tensions unique to the US of all First World countries, makes lax gun control a bad idea, as anyone who reads the news can see.

    • Michael

      Zilch, since Austria is so amazing, would offer us a place to stay :)

      Merry Christmas all

      Mike

      • zilch

        We don't have much room in our apartment, but let me know when you're coming, and I'll see what I can do. Merry Christmas to you too!

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  • Luke C

    I am sorry to say this, but this is a terrible article. Saying that the children were slaughtered due to their [and our] sins is erroneous--and uncalled for. I cannot imagine one of these kids has done anything to warrant an ineffable death, of this nature. Our current directive should be to morn the loss of our fellow citzens, and self reflect on why our society has allowed something like this to occur (ie., gun control, management of the mentally unstable, security, prevention). It should not be to say that this immutable day in history would have not occurred if these children were not sinners, or God did not intervene for they [the children] had it coming. I am unable to produce any amount of tears to alleviate the suffering this community and affected individuals are going through, however. I will not tarnish the unrest of these individuals by calling them sinners.

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