Aimed at providing encouragement for individuals, especially Christians, going through the tragic experience of divorce. Some readers are the ones who are actually divorcing and so the intent is to help them find hope through the postings in the blog and access to the Finding God in the Seasons of Divorce book.
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Friday, December 14, 2012
Where was God in Connecticut?
Christmas Tragedy in Connecticut/Oregon
So did you hear about the
divorce on Sesame Street? There was a segment on the Today’s Show about
it, and info on the net, and I wanted to add my two cents to the topic. Then I heard about the tragedy at the elementary
school up in Connecticut…..so Sesame Street will have to wait a day or two….but
check back…..because this other event demands our attention first.
Twice in such a short time,
young men take up arms and open fire on unsuspecting people…..today, sadly,
including a large number of very young children. I would like to contribute some comments into
the discussion, but if you are reading this and haven’t done so yet, please
stop reading long enough to offer a prayer for those poor families caught in the
crossfire of this tragedy. Just as that
first Christmas was tainted with the blood of children, the lifeblood of those
20 children has marred the Christmas season for our nation, and especially for
those mourning families. Remember the
passage Matthew quotes from Jeremiah (in ESV):
voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no
more.” --Matt 2:14
I want to focus first and
primarily on the event in Connecticut,
understanding that much of the information applies to Oregon’s
shooting as well (as well as Columbine, the Colorado theater, Virginia Tech….all those
senseless murders). Before I get too
deep into it, I have heard a number of times in these things the statement that
these shooters long for fame and their place in history. I sometimes wonder if the attitudes would
change if the names of these heartless killers were never made public…if they
were always only known as “John Doe,” and the fame to go to the victims, or the
heroes like Allen Fonseca, that young man in Portland Macy’s who rescued so
many. I heard some mourn the loss of
young life, those children who were robbed of lives of careers, marriages and
so on. And it is true. But may I suggest that you and I also let
that fact remind us each that none of us knows the number of our days…at any
moment any one of us could be called before our Maker to give account of our
lives there in eternity. Let us live in
such a way that we will be ready for God, no matter when our time comes.
Well, as people have tried to
make sense of all of this, we continue to hear the same rationale suggested
over and again: the easy access to
deadly weapons, violence in the movies or on video games, mental illness…..there
are others that will be rolled out once again over the coming days. And, of course, often one hears about
troubled or broken homes. I especially
heard a number comments about mental illness.
But I don’t hear what I believe is core to the issue, because that
answer isn’t politically correct these days, and nobody wants to hear it. But you will hear it here.
Some years ago, famed
psychiatrist Karl Menninger, founder of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas,
published a little book titled, Whatever Became of Sin? That book has become a classic that to this
day raises the issue of how we classify the deeds of people in our world. You see, without diminishing the realities of
the mental illnesses so many suffer with daily, there is a truth deeper than
mere mental illness. This world is
scarred by the bigger reality known as sin.
Every philosophy class I ever taught at the college level always
included a section from the book dealing with the question of evil in the
world. Why? Because no matter what you believe about God
and humanity, you are forced to deal with the existence of evil. Those who believe that people are basically
good are hard pressed to explain, then, how events such as these recent shootings
can occur. While desiring to blame it on
something wrong with the individual who perpetrates the deed, yet ignore the
fact that they themselves also partake of a nature that expresses itself in
evil ways at times. Sometimes it is
manifested in deeds such as we have just seen, but other times it appears in
the form of selfishness, or pride, or indifference to the suffering of
others. In fact, I would argue that the
very thing that brought about this whole blog, divorce, is also a symptom of
the imperfect, broken and sinfulness of our world. Some of us like to point to people who do
things we consider worse than our own deeds to build our own egos, but we
neglect to compare ourselves to the perfection of God, and thus ignore the
reality that even the best of us are caught in the taint of sin. Original sin is what many call it.
What became of sin? We have tried to eradicate it in our culture
by renaming it. We claim the sinful
things people do are actually the result of not sinfulness, but ignorance…thus
education is the solution. And yet we
ignore the fact that there are very many highly educated people whose lives are
filled with the most awful of sins. We
claim it is due to disease, and try to solve the problem with medications, only
to find the medications get abused and the “diseases” are used as excuses to
justify ongoing bad behavior…..sin. They
announce the problem is poverty, so we begin programs to lift people out of
poverty….ignoring the wealthy whose lives are as filled with aberrant behavior
as any poor people anywhere. Others
would say it is because of our lack of effective laws, and try to legislate
their way out of these situations….but murder has been against the law since
the dawn of history, and we are no nearer its eradication than were the Roman
rulers or our Founding Fathers. Or the
cause is mental illness, and so people combine their medicines with lots of
talking to counselors whose discussions can bring understanding and maybe help
change some habits, but has no power to cleanse the soul, forgive the
wrongdoing, or change the heart out of its sinful condition.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Every one of these areas we raise are
important areas and it is valid to address them. But to think that by so doing we will change
the nature of humanity is simply believing a falsehood. We will never educate, medicate, counsel or finance our way out of the condition of
our hearts caught in the taint of sin.
Because those are not the cure, only redemption can transform a human
heart, and only Christ has the power and authority to bring that
Oh, there are those who say
that there cannot be a God, because if there were, He would never allow these
kind of things to happen. But the
scriptures teach that we would see this kind of things and worse more frequently,
if it were not for the fact that God’s Spirit restrains the free reign of evil
and Satan’s influence. No, it is only
the grace of God that keeps these events limited in number, and it is only the
grace of God that has the power through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, to
bring the cure that is needed to change our hearts.
It is a sad thing we
experience here on earth, to see how the twisted nature of sin wreaks such
havoc and evil in our lives. But until
we recognize it for what it is, and seek the power of God to change us, that
evil will grow in one fashion or another.
And as we see fewer families raising their children with the moral
guidance of church and scripture, and so many in our nation continue to scoff
at the coming judgment of God upon our lives and deeds, we will see more and
more of the awful deeds such as we saw today.
So it is with deep sadness in
my heart for those suffering folks on our coasts in this time that I offer my
prayers and a call to invite them to find strength and hope in God. No matter what conclusions the psychologists
and social workers and politicians and police investigators present as the
cause, until all creation finally bows every knee before Jesus in heaven, there
will be tears to wipe away and injustices to grieve. In the meantime, may God’s peace and comfort
be to those whose hearts are breaking from cruel bullets in our malls, theaters
and schools, as well as those who have lost loved ones in embassies and on
battlefields around the world this year.
You all have my deepest sympathy.
WAAYYY TOOOO LONG, so
dr: The murderous deeds this week are
evidence of the evil infecting our world called sin, crying out for the healing
that comes only from Christ.