Upon hearing the tragic news about the Colorado shooting in an Aurora at the opening night showing of the new Batman movie, I started thinking about this great country of ours. America, land of the free, home of the brave.
I’d say it takes a good amount of bravery and freedom (not to mention a large dose of cowardice) to walk into a theater at midnight dressed like a soldier to randomly shoot innocents who aren’t prepared to defend themselves. There’s no finer definition of terrorism. But America is such a place where Colorado shootings happen. It’s the price of our liberty and freedom.
As an advocate for Christianity and the love of God for men, I’m often confronted with the questions about why God allows innocent lives to be lost at the hands of the irresponsible, negligent, and downright sinister arms of humanity. But I find it interesting that, upon finding out about this tragedy, no one dares ask the question. Questioning God is not the typical response to situations like the Colorado shooting because in America people are free to be idiotic and unloving. They are free to exercise their will, even at the expense of others.
That’s not to say this guy didn’t break the law, or that he won’t go to jail or be brought to justice. I’m not at all saying that America is designed to condone any of the behaviors of mass murderers, past and present. I believe we will bring this man to justice for his actions as soon as we can. Justice is as important as freedom is in this country (or at least it’s meant to be).
But our freedoms do facilitate the abuse of one’s freewill. Which, as it turns out, is the way God designed it for all of humanity in regard to sin. And since this is the case, I am reminded even more that the core issues in America and its citizens are not about sexual orientation, health care laws, job creation, food stamps, or any other headlining political topic you can read about on any given morning. No, the core issue in America, from a Christian perspective, is how to introduce and partner with God to change the hearts of our states individual population, citizen by citizen.
The Colorado shooting serves as a sharp reminder about what’s really important in America. It’s yet another stiff jut of a pointed finger at the necessary work the American Church needs to engage more directly in. Our job as a church community, as the ambassadors of Godly charity, as imitators of Jesus is to point people to God via the gospel of Christ’s sacrifice — a sacrifice that should not only communicate how valuable each individual is to God, regardless of what state they are in, but also teach us to love each other in like manner. That is, to find the value in every person and speak to and serve that value in Godly ways.
The answer to an immoral society doesn’t reside in top down Christian appropriations and legislation (or whatever other big word you’d like to use for power and control). It is, instead, the bottom up campaign to change the hearts of the masses to mirror that of Jesus. A heart that will remove the social “better than you” and “better than me” glasses with which we view our society. A society that recognizes the value in each individual the way God does. Morality is an inside-out, bottom-up kind of process that regenerates our passions for life through the changing of our hearts. A process only God can work out.
No doubt there will be coming debates about guns and gun control, as we continue the less than fruitful approach of political behavior modification. In the meanwhile, I pray for the families impacted by this horrendous moment. I am saddened for a young man who so clearly needs a heart surgery from heavenly hands. And I am even more reminded about the pettiness of our daily grind and debates. Christians, if this is not a reminder to you that our work is not done, or that we are missing the mark, then I don’t know what else it will take — maybe a gun to our own heads.
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