It has happened again — a mass shooting on a school campus.
So many questions are raised. Why do these things happen? Can they be prevented? If so, how? Quite frankly, we don’t know the answers to these questions.
And yet we seek to understand, because we don’t want it to happen again. Often we think, “Well, that can’t happen here.” But the folks in Oregon thought the same thing until recently.
As a Christian pastor, I certainly don’t have the answers. I don’t even know all of the questions. But I think I can offer some insight, so I’m going to give it a try.
In many minds, the debate centers on gun control. I hesitate to enter the political battle on that issue, but I will say two things that may cause people on both sides some heartburn. First, we do need background checks, and quite frankly, there are some weapons that are so destructive, they should not be available to all of us.
But we have to realize this: Cain killed Abel with a rock. The murderers of 9/11 used box cutters and airplanes to do their damage. Our problem is not so much the weaponry involved as it is the hearts of the perpetrators.
People ask, “How can someone be so mean and violent?” The fact is we are all sinners and capable of doing very bad things. I know these are not popular thoughts for today, but the Bible is clear on this issue: All of us are sinners — “There is none righteous.” We are naturally selfish, and we look first to our own needs.
Admittedly, most people do not go to the extreme measure of taking the lives of others. But we are born with the tendency to sin, and unless someone (read: God) intervenes, we will continue down that path.
We need a change of heart, and that is what God offers us in his Son, Jesus Christ. I don’t know the depths of my own sin, but God does. And because he does, he provided me with a way to be forgiven. He offers the same to you. There is a desperate need in our world today for the grace and forgiveness of God. His grace is the only thing that can rescue us from ourselves.
I pray that you find and receive that grace today. It is offered freely to all who will trust in him.