What do you say after an event like the one that happened Friday? It feels like you have to say something, but almost anything seems trite against the horror of little children being executed by a madman. My wife and I have come up with a little thing that helps us to understand the strange and, often, troubling things people say in times of stress. “When you have a choice of two or three things you could say, you will almost always choose the dumbest.” So often we walk away from a brief conversation and wonder why we said what we did. And, just as often, we have to walk away forgiving the other person for what he or she said.
So I am simply going to say this: there is evil in the world. Sometimes the evil bursts out in ways that bring terror and grief. Sometimes the evil is so plain to see that we can’t explain it away or excuse it.
People all over the nation are crying out for gun control, as though more gun control would stop such violence. The people of China are not allowed to own guns, but children have been attacked with axes, box cutters, meat cleavers, and knives. In fact, 22 children were slashed in Henan Province on Friday, the same day as the Sandy Hook School killings. This isn’t about guns, or mental health, or divorce, or public schools—this is about evil. Evil uses whatever it can to bring harm.
The young man who committed this act worked evil. The evil in his heart grew and twisted and festered until it found a way of expression. In Romans, Paul speaks of sin as a force within him, even as a believer (Rom. 7:17). Sin takes advantage of the world and its cruel influences to twist our flesh and move us to do things we regret. Sin is evil and sin is in each person. Sin is as natural to us as breathing air.
That’s why we need a Savior.
The limited and tilted picture we get of the young murderer is of someone who needed to know in his heart that he was loved. Yes, I understand that he had some diagnosed psychological problems, but the story so far speaks volumes about the lack of security and love in his life. We may never understand what finally snapped in him, but I can’t help but wonder if things would be different today if he understood the love of Jesus for him.
As you go about your business today, love people. Sometimes it is hard and the only love you may find is a little more patience and a decision not to say what you think the person deserves. But, if the love of Jesus is in your heart, share it. And don’t be afraid to tell people where it came from when they ask why you are kind.
Love is the one thing that multiplies as it is shared. You have more for yourself as you give it away. Yes, there are people who cannot accept love and people who use your love to take advantage of you. I don’t blame anyone for being careful. Loving someone is not the same as giving in to their addictions and cruelties.
The evil of many generations apart from God—the evil of a culture that is becoming increasingly narcissistic—the evil of a church that seeks to appease God through lists and rules and legalistic standards—has found its way to the hearts of our young people. They are struggling in ways few of us ever did. Sexual promiscuity, drugs, homosexuality, suicide—these are part of their lives now. They need to know the love of Jesus.
Be sure to tell your kids and grandkids what you are learning about being loved. It will make a difference!