Twenty silent children. Twenty sets of parents who didn’t know the goodbyes they said to their children that morning were the last ones. Parents who in their wildest nightmares would never have imagined having to identify their bullet-riddled sons and daughters at the local morgue. Parents, never again able to hold their first and second grade children, teach them, love them, cheer for them, help them. This is yet another time when God’s people turn to pray for strangers.
Parents across the nation were afraid to send their children to school Monday. Children old enough to get it, worry about the risk their teacher-parents could face on a future day. An toxic brew of fear and fury affect citizens who have faced this before but don’t want to again.
President Obama gave voice to our outrage when he declared, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end.” They must? Of course, they won’t. Bills will be written and voted on–probably including some new gun legislation, and school counselors will create some new initiatives that all school personnel will be trained on. And we’ll congratulate ourselves for our diligent response and determination to fix our problems.
But all the bureaucrats in the world cannot put an end to evil. It’s in our DNA. I’m a hunter and not a big fan of some new gun control, but let’s say we pass some legislation that greatly reduces the likelihood that someone like Adam Lanza could get their hands on guns–or a certain kind of gun. And let’s say that with some new training teachers are able to head off some serious stuff, maybe help some of the outsiders feel more included.
We should rejoice. Believers should endorse what has real potential to improve–and secure–life for all of us, especially the most vulnerable. (Which reminds me of abortion but that’s another post.)
It’s the confidence in such efforts that’s misplaced. Gun control and teacher awareness–maybe even police in the schools, does nothing with the mind or the heart of an Adam Lanza. Perhaps Lanza was mentally ill. Even if he wasn’t, invariably this is where a world blind to a human depravity that’s universal, goes for explanations. Mentally ill or not, we do know that he was ill with sin–like us all. And hope for this, won’t be found in Congress. The law can only imperfectly restrain sin, it can neither end nor cure it. Both are the work of the world‘s future King.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that the incarnate Son of God lived a perfect life so he could die a death for imperfect people, and has been perfectly raised to life and sits at the Father’s right hand interceding for us. Jesus and His work is where those of us who know Him by faith, place our confidence. While hopefully helpful, legislation, training, and a host of other “try harders” can never deal with the heart’s cancer: sin. Only Jesus can.