Last night I crept into my 6 year old’s room and laid down next to her. I could hear her deep breaths as she slept and feel the warmth of her next to me. I began to cry for all of the parents in Connecticut who will never get the opportunity to do that again.
And I know that today, yet another face will appear on the screen of a young, angry person who committed the ultimate terror spree. It seems like it is always a similar story: He enters a public place armed with a weapon and rage. We wait to hear the fallout and guage the horror of his actions. We ask the same questions, we get the same nonsensical answers. We look into the faces of our children and try to imagine them living in a world filled with fear. Some days the shooting spree is halfway across America and we attempt to pretend that would never happen where we live. Some days it happens down the street.
As all of our hearts break over the two shootings this week in Oregon and Connecticut, we often ask ourselves how we can stop this. Although we can never eliminate hatred in our fallen world, I do think we can make a difference. I believe, even in the face of evil, that the love of Christ still changes things. We will never erradicate all of the horror that free-will can create, but if we pour out love on the unlovable, the wounded, the lonely…we may save some.
So, what can we do? It may be simple, but here’s where I think we start: Dive headfirst into the lives of children and teenagers. Volunteer in children’s ministries, youth ministries, or outside organizations devoted to our young people. Walk the streets of your neighborhoods and get to know the young people who live next door to you. Look into the eyes of kids and teens and tell them they are LOVED, VALUED, and WORTHY. We live in a world that is full of hurt, pain, and rejection. Our voices, as Christians, have got to shout above the awful voices and BE the love of Christ. And the best place to start is with “our” children. Not just the ones you birthed, but all of them.
There will undoubtedly be an anti-gun debate that quickly errupts in the media, but I think the greater issue is that we have tried to create an America that is anti-God. At this crossroads, it is quite evident that we must openly, loudly, and proudly proclaim Christ as the answer to this situation and our nation. He is the HOPE of this world and right now, we need hope desperately.
Bottom line: We may grieve deeply, but we must act daily. Fear is not an option. Failure is not an option. Forgetting is not an option.
We love you Clackamas and Connecticut. We are praying.