News reports this morning suggest that the 20-year old man who murdered more than 2 dozen people, 20 of whom were children, in a small community’s elementary school in Connecticut this past week was, perhaps, a "genius" who may have had a "personality disorder." I'm sure more analysis of this man's being and motive will be forthcoming. However, let's keep things simple. The issue behind this tragedy is not the murderer's personality, upbringing, social standing, etc. These are all secondary issues. The real issue is the same as it has been from the beginning: sin.
The first recorded act of sin committed after Adam's fall was murder.
"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him" (Genesis 4:8).
Satan is called the Destroyer because he can do nothing else. His ways lead to death...always. In speaking to the Pharisees of His day, the Lord stated plainly,
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44a).
It should not surprise us, then, when we witness murder of any sort in this world over which Satan now reigns according to God's will.
On the newcast I watched last night, a Catholic priest who had been called in to counsel the families of those who had been killed was interviewed. At one point he said, in essence, "There is really nothing we can do to stop this pain." I believe he had shown all the human compassion and kindness he could, yet he was left with this sad but true admission. And he was right. The Catholic Church has nothing of eternal worth to offer at such a time. Its sacraments have no redeeming value; its priesthood is composed of sinful men just like the rest of mankiknd who have no personal grace to offer to others. But Christians do have something to offer to the sorrowful. Rather, Christians have some One to offer: Jesus Christ. Christians have a Savior who feels the sorrow of mankind and, more importantly, can turn that sorrow into rejoicing. No man can give lasting peace at a time like this. No church organization can give lasting comfort at a time like this. But Christians can point the sorrowing ones to the Savior, the Prince of Peace, who alone can give the peace “which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) to all who come unto Him.
We should all have great compassion for all who have been affected by this evil work. Their lives will never be the same. They need our prayers. We must be faithful in this most important ministry. But as we intercede for these, let us not forget that many more innocent children were murdered in the womb that day than died at that school...and legally! Thousands more died from the ravages of dread diseases, often after years of suffering and pain. And besides these, countless families were destroyed by the consequences of sin, with many left homeless and alone facing unknown horrors. Sin has wrecked havoc on mankind. Its effects are everywhere, observable every day, not just at times of spectacular and shocking perversion as we have just witnessed.
It is certain that there will be more tragedies ahead, and the cause will always be the same: sin. And Satan will encourage people to get caught up in the emotions of these spectacular (albeit legitimately tragic) events so as to keep their minds off of their own lost condition. After all, who is not "better" than a mass murderer, and, therefore, not worthy of God's judgment himself? Satan is the master Deceiver.
So as we pray for mercy and grace for the people affected by this horrible and senseless act of violence, let us also pray for ourselves, that we would each have daily and sincere compassion for those with whom we come in contact every day who are living without Christ and, therefore, walking unknowingly towards their own death, some sooner, some later. And as we consider this, may we be faithful to the provocation of the Spirit to share with these the good news of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God who defeated death on behalf of man and offers eternal life and peace to all who would believe in Him. For only in Him will man find lasting peace. Only in Him is there any true comfort in this world of sin and uncertainty.
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