The news from the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting has horrified and saddened an entire nation and has left virtually everyone asking “why” or “how” such a terrible thing could happen.
It would be good for us to know that there is a moral obligation that comes when asking certain questions. I don’t mean a question like “What is the price of tea in China?” but when we individually or as a nation ask how someone can enter a school and kill 26 people including many young children we have obligated ourselves morally in the asking. To what are we morally bound? To honestly want the answer. To ask this question and really not want the truthful answer is not only cruel, but is an evil itself for the matter is too important and serious to inquire into and then refuse the truthful answer. Lives are in the balance as we seek the answer. How tragic, how evil it would be to have the real answer to this question available and to pretend to want it but to then refuse the answer when it comes.
If it isn’t clear where this is all heading, let me state it plainly… I am convinced that though America is repeatedly asking why Adam Lanza would murder as he did, I do not believe we want the answer. I’ll wait for the shock and horror to die down as I imagine some will think this a terrible assertion and untimely. But I sincerely, emphatically, believe that we do not really want to know why Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the answer is spiritual in nature, involves God and ultimately, you and me.
Can we agree on one thing? If the question we are asking surrounds an event that ended 26 lives in bloody murder, causing a scene of indescribable carnage, devastating families, a community, and nation then would the answer to the question not have to be as shocking if not more so than the event? Yes, the cause must be more ugly and horrifying than the effect for without the one, the other would not have happened. Failed parenting, evil video games and guns are not enough on their own or even collectively to explain something as evil as this event. The result is to seismic, to tragic and evil. The answer to our question must be as evil, yes even more evil than the horror it seeks to explain and it is.
Our proposed answers to our question include: the possibility of mental illness, bad parental influence or negligence, the influence of violent video games and of course worst of all, to many minds, the availability of guns.
But what possibility is not receiving consideration? Have you heard any discussion whatsoever about the reality of sin? In all our searching is anyone talking about the fact that humans are not just flesh, blood and brain chemicals but that we are above all creatures who posses a soul and that the condition of the soul governs the condition of our mind and actions?
You are not hearing this are you? Why? Because to acknowledge that the murders in Connecticut were born of sin would mean we would have to acknowledge God and our fallen state as His creatures. If the answer to our question is sin then the solution is God. If the answer to our question is sin, then the government and its educational system would need to repent of their refusal to speak to children about their souls and with greater culpability, for having told them that they are animals, made not by a God to whom they will give an account but by mere coincidence, chance. Let’s take Darwinism to its logical end…why did Adam Lanza do what he did? There is no reason. In a world created by an explosion there are bound to be some bangs, the evolutionary process is playing itself out. There are no moral absolutes in Darwinism, let’s move on. By the way, why are we so shocked our children and young adults are acting like animals when this is what we have been telling them they are?
It is not a coincidence that the first sin the Bible records for us after Adam’s initial fall is a murder, Cain murders his brother Abel. The decision to sin brought man into a willing bondage to Satan who amongst many things is a murderer (John 8:44). The moment mankind fell under the power of the evil one, man became a murderer by nature.
Jesus, God’s Son reveals that murder in the sight of a holy God can be committed in the heart and mind though never carried out in outward actions (Matthew 5:21-22). Right here, begins our refusal of the answer we are claiming to seek, for to acknowledge truth would mean acknowledging that in God’s sight we are all murderers and that a power rules us that is greater than we are to overcome.
As a people we love murder, we entertain ourselves with it. Murder is the theme of nearly every movie, television show and novel we imbibe. Our children entertain themselves by playing games in which they kill people endlessly. Daily, Americans kill 3,000 infants (you know, the children we claim we love so much). We rationalize our murder by standing behind the decision of the Supreme Court. We have told ourselves that unborn children are not persons and therefore can be slaughtered wholesale. You want a pill to swallow? Connecticut is the outflow of a nation that aborts infants. It’s very simple, if someone else’s existence hinders or bothers yours, extinguish it. Life is about you and your happiness, that’s all that matters.
Is anyone who is asking “Why” willing to consider that perhaps God is allowing us to lie in the bed we have made for ourselves? That the God of love is also just? That scenes like those we are forced to look on from Connecticut are the unbridled consequences of the sin that resides in all of us and that we have welcomed into our lives and nation? Is anyone willing to acknowledge that you and I are complicit in the actions we claim to be horrified by? Me complicit? That can’t be the answer.
How desirous we are to minimalize the answer to our “Why” question. We would really like to think it is just a matter of a “Prepper” mother or brain chemistry or the fault of an inanimate object (the gun). For if it is any or all of these, you and I can keep skirting the real issue of God, sin, and our lost spiritual condition which brings upon us not only physical death but also, spiritual death and eternal separation from God in hell.
I am grieved as I think of those murdered in Connecticut but I am grieved even more as I witness our refusal as Americans to listen to the real answer to the question we are asking. I am not only grieved, I am angry. The longer we refuse to listen to God’s answer the more events like this one and even worse will take place.
America, do you really want the answer to your “Why” question? Here it is… Adam Lanza murdered because of sin. He was held in sin’s power and though it may manifest itself in different ways in my life and yours, so are we under sin’s power, that is unless, we have been freed from it by Jesus Christ:
1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
No, this can’t be the answer can it? Sin? The devil? No, we are determined to be flesh, bone and brain chemistry only so that we can indulge our sin and lust without accountability and stand around with everyone else and ask endlessly why we do the things we do. To ask questions endlessly without arriving at the answer can be a way of avoidance and in this case it is. We claim we don’t know why these things happened but we know this much, when God’s servants come and tell us it’s sin, we know it’s not that!
Sin would explain the evil in Adam Lanza’s heart and mind. Sin would explain any parental failure (for sin has made us imperfect), sin would explain mental illness (for illness is a result of the fall). Sin would explain taking an inanimate object and using it for evil. The answer to every aspect of this situation is rightly answered by sin but we will not listen will we? No, we will keep standing around shrugging our shoulders, consulting Oprah and Dr. Phil while the God of Heaven speaks into our unwilling ears.
America, you are asking a question. The answer is that sin is our problem. It is not just the answer to the question concerning Connecticut, it is why you and I do things we know we shouldn’t, things that make us miserable and unhappy, things that offend God and hurt others. Sin is why there are sexual diseases, why people trample each other to buy Christmas presents, why spouses abandon their marriages, why men abandon the children they father, why women murder the babies in their wombs, why children dishonor their parents. Sin is why we love sports more than God, why we refuse to feed the poor, why people are lazy and expect others to feed them, why as my daughter told me recently, middle school girls are putting their hands down boy’s pants in the school cafeteria. Sin is why God is being blotted out of American life, American education, American families, and yet we all stand around seemingly amazed, we don’t seem to know why evil things happen. Do we really not know or can it be that we don’t want to know?