Newtown, Connecticut. “Within minutes, 26 people were dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School – 20 of them children. Among the six adults killed were Dawn Hochsprung, the school’s beloved principal, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach.” – CNN
Words can’t express this level of tragedy … or depravity.
In devastating times like these, it’s so easy to blame “guns,” “insanity,” “God,” or an “accident.” If weapons were illegal, would violence stop? If we could medicate every crazy person, would life become more sane? If God micro-managed the world and never let anything bad happen, would we believe in him? Do human beings have free will, or are we so weak and malleable that our actions are governed by violence on TV, video games, or the repressed pangs of a crappy childhood?
The ugly truth – which no one wants to admit – is we are evil.
Plain and simple.
Bad things don’t happen because of inanimate objects made of metal. A gun never murdered anyone. The hand that pulls the trigger, or brandishes the knife, or pours the poison … that hand is the true weapon. The mind that contrives evil plans, the heart that plots chaos, the soul that allows jealousy, rage, and perversion to consume and inspire it … these are the true culprits of murder.
Wicked things don’t happen because of a God who doesn’t care, or a random stroke of chance. How can we blame God for the actions of a man? How can we blame fate for crimes so deliberately planned and carried out?
At some point we need to stop pointing fingers and look at what we don’t want to see. Like Dorian Gray, we try to hide the truth about our souls in the highest, darkest, most out-of-the-way attic we can find. But the horrific picture-worth-a-thousand-words is still there, and we cannot hide it forever.
One of my favorite quotes from J.K. Rowling’s books is, “Dark times lie ahead of us, and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
What is easy, and what is right.
Why is evil so easy? Why does shirking responsibility come so naturally to us? Why is doing what is right so often difficult and unpleasant?
Wicked things happen because people are wicked. Crimes happen because people are criminals. We prefer to think that monsters are scary, deformed, grotesque looking creatures, but the truth is that monsters look just like you and I. Yes, most of us try to be good, and some of us strive to see goodness in everyone around us, but being good is hard, and being evil is often quite easy.
Everywhere we go, everything we do, we spread “evil under the sun.” Some among us worry about losing our faith in humanity. Tell me, how can any truly honest person have “faith in humanity” when humanity keeps on committing the same horrific acts over, and over, and over again?
From ancient times when people sacrificed children to pagan gods, to modern times when children are preyed upon by monsters with guns … it is all the same. We are evil. We don’t deserve our children.
Too good and too beautiful for this messed up world, children are the little miracles God sends to remind us of what innocence and love really look like. It’s so hard to remember sometimes, until you see a baby’s smile, or hear the joy in a child’s laugh. That’s what goodness is. That’s a little taste of what Heaven will be like.
When horrific things like this occur, I sometimes wonder, “Should I even have children? What kind of world am I bringing this baby into?”
“This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.” Ecclesiastes 9:3
There are no words that can make sense of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. To even try to find a reason or make sense of a situation that is utterly senseless is futile … and I fear does the victims a great disservice.
No matter what I try – no matter what rationale or philosophy I try to soothe my fear and pain with – I can only take comfort in these simple, miraculous words: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Did you catch that? The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children.
Those are the words of Jesus Christ.
And while it doesn’t explain away our pain, or make the crime of what has happened any less heinous … I am certain in my heart of hearts that there are 20 new little arrivals in Heaven right now being cradled in the bosom of God.
He did not let us down. He did not look the other way. He intervened. He saved. He rescued.
He is our faithful and loving Father, full of compassion and abounding in love.
May God forever watch over our darling little children, and may he comfort those poor parents in Newtown. My prayers, my hopes, my thoughts … Dear God, be with them.