My Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Tragedy

16 Dec

I’m going to take a break from my typical blog subject matter and share my thoughts on the tragedy in Newtown, CT. 

As I watched the news reports on Friday night, I was speechless and heartbroken (and still am).  There were and still are no words for what happened.  Nothing can be said to provide closure or clarity on the situation.  Nothing can be done to ease the pain and torment the people in Newtown are feeling.  The residents of that town, and really parents and children all across America simply need to know that they are safe and that this will never happen again.  Unfortunately, no one can make that promise.  We can only pray and do our best to show love to all those around us.  Perhaps in those moments of love we can help dispel some of the evil that lies within the walls of those broken hearts that are crying out for help.

It might be easy to try to turn this into a gun control issue.  Both sides can use this incident to support their cause.  I do not stand on either side of this issue.  But to turn this into a gun control issue would be unfair.  This tragedy is not about gun control; it is about a cultural mindset that must be changed.  We have to educate our young people (and adults) on how to treat others around us.  We have to change the way we understand and respond to mental illness.  I read a touching article (tinyurl.com/cmxocfe)  by the mother of a child with mental illness today, and you should read it, too. 

We also must show people that violence is not the answer.  The amount of violence on TV, movies, and video games is astounding, and I believe that it has to contribute to the violent mindset of some of the people in the world.  I’m not saying that violence shouldn’t exist with mainstream media.  I’m simply saying that we have to watch how much we take in.  Garbage in, garbage out.  There must be a change to the culture to see change, and it must start now and very young.  Let’s surround our children with love and affection.  If we do, they will display love and affection.  Let’s show our neighbor love, and our neighbor will turn around and love someone else.  Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

It’s important to remember the families in Newtown and those who have lost someone they love.  In a few weeks, the next big news story will take over the airwaves, and those away from CT will move on.  And we should move on to an extent.  We are not called to remain stuck in a situation that causes us pain.  But we should remember those who are hurting in prayer, and the people in Newtown will be hurting for a long, long time.  The children who saw the carnage up close may be scarred for years to come.  Let’s cover those children in prayer.  To the parents who lost a loved one, or to the children who lost a sibling, I offer up my sincere apologies for the pain that you will endure over the coming months and years.  We all grieve with you and pray for you.  We should also pray for the counselors who will help these hurting families.  Pray that the counselors will have wisdom on what to do to help those who are hurting right now.  And, of course, pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7) for those left behind.  What an unspeakable tragedy.

And pray for forgiveness for those who have lost someone.  It doesn’t have to happen now or tomorrow, but it must happen sometime, or the victims’ families will become victims themselves.  I read the story (on.cnn.com/WfTamY) of Robbie Parker, the father of six year old Emilie Parker, who died during the shooting.  He offered his condolences to the family of the gunman and sent his love and support to them.  What an admirable response by someone whose world has been crushed.  We could all take a page from his story and learn from it.  Lord, help us all to give those who have hurt us the grace that you gave even while you were nailed on that cross.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost someone dear to them, including the children that had to walk through the school and to safety.  I pray peace and comfort over each hurting heart and that the community of Newtown would become united forever as they grieve together.  Find someone you love and trust and grab onto them during this time of need.  We are all here to walk with someone else, and the people of Newtown need someone to walk with them.  And if we need to, we can carry them, too.

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