In the wake of the school shooting last Friday there have been tears, concerns, questions, prayers and much discussion. It was a sad, tragic and devastating day for the people in the small community of Newtown, Connecticut. As I mentioned yesterday in my sermon, right now people are asking a lot of questions and wondering how to respond to the “darkness” in this event. As people search for answers as to why this happened, I want us to remember a couple of things.
The first is that evil is a very real and powerful force in this world. The Bible clearly tells us of the reality that good and evil influence much of life. It is so because of the Fall of humanity that we read about in Genesis. The minute Adam and Eve chose to give in to the temptations of Satan and then chose disobedience to the person and will of God, sin was introduced into every part of creation. At that moment there became a never before seen adversary to good. Since then, evil has been wreaking havoc on this earth. To be clear, this is NOT something God did, it was a decision made by people to choose power and self-ambition over the rule, reign and care of God. Now every time we make similar decisions, we face whatever consequences may come of it. God’s heart breaks over the destruction, deception and pain that sin and evil create in this world. Sometimes we may even cry out “well, why doesn’t He DO something about it??” The answer to that question is – He has.
The second thing we must remember, especially during this Christmas season, is that God’s answer to this problem of evil is to send His one and only son into the world to become like one of us in order to save us. The gospel writer John said it like this…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
There is no answer that can satisfy but this truth that God became a man, in order to become a sacrifice on our behalf to ultimately deal with sin and conquer death. You see, because of our inability to cure the effects of sin, this was something we could not do for ourselves. God, out of His extravagant love, did this for us. Therefore, He IS the only answer to problem of evil. Every time we hold up the light of His love in this world, the darkness is dispelled. We are a part of the solution. Instead of asking “why”, we must model for the world what genuine love, grace, joy and hope look like. At the end of the day there is this one final truth – THIS WORLD NEEDS JESUS!
One more thing. I realize that I am writing this on the Monday after the shooting. Children will be coming home from school where they may have been involved in conversations about the incident. Let me offer you five quick things to remember in dealing with your children.
- Listen Carefully – You might begin a conversation by simply asking what they know or have heard. Ask them how they feel about what they know. Then be a good listener.
- Respond Honestly – Children are looking for an honest response from us as parents. Responding in this way (age appropriately of course) models for them that we value the truth.
- Affirm Feelings – If your child says they are scared, instead of trying to tell them not to be scared, affirm what they just told you. But, also reassure them of the ways they are being cared for and protected by you, the teachers/coaches/administrators at school and our friends at the police department.
- Let Scripture Speak – This is a great time to allow scripture to speak to our children. These are good ones: John 16:33 (God has overcome evil); Deuteronomy 31:6 (God is always with us); Matthew 19:14 (how much Jesus loves little children); Psalm 46:1 (God is our refuge and strength); Matthew 5:14-16 (you are the light of the world- let it shine!).
- Pray with Them – This is also a good time to pray with your child. Pray with them for the people in Newtown, for the families, for God’s love to be known, for children in that community. Thank God for being our protector and helper.
Lastly, I have included a link to my good friend Polly Dunn’s website: http://childpsychmom.com/blog/. Polly has a Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology. In 2010 she founded ChildPsychMom.com in an effort to provide practical and user friendly information from her shared experiences as a wife, mom, and child psychologist. She has posted two very good articles about helping our children deal with the tragedy in Connecticut. I encourage you to check it out.
If there’s any way I, or our staff at Cornerstone, can help please let us know (887-1152 or email us at email@example.com).