Yesterday was a day that has become all too familiar in our current social landscape: another mass shooting. And although the rhetoric will now turn to gun control and violence and our media will be flooded with talking heads each with their own opinions, the question that never seems to get answered is WHY? I’ll admit I have a much harder time caring about that aspect of the equation when an adult is doing the shooting, but I struggle when it’s a child pulling the trigger. This young man may have been a teenager closing in on adulthood, but he was still a child.
Age does not exempt us from the brokenness of the world, but it does pose an important question that desperately needs an answer. How did we miss this? By all accounts that I’ve seen, his fellow students weren’t the least surprised by the attack, so what about the adults? Let’s leave the discussion around guns for another day and take a good look at our responsibility as both parents and mentors. By this, I mean ALL OF US.
There are thousands of hard working school counselors and administrators who dedicate their lives to investing in the children they see day in and day out, however there are thousands more parents that don’t even notice.
If we truly believe that ‘it takes a village’ to raise our kids, then we must acknowledge that the village includes more than just the immediate social circle we come in contact with. We must find ways to become more involved in the lives of the broken, so we have the opportunity to pour into them before it’s too late. I realize that’s a big task to pile onto our already busy lives, but it’s a matter of priority. How many more times do we need to see a child bring a gun to school and how many more families need to grieve over their lost children before we wake up and understand the heart of the problem.
Brokenness, loneliness, isolation: 3 places Satan loves to work and 3 places we all find uncomfortable. Especially when we’re talking about someone else’s brokenness, loneliness and isolation. I won’t deny it’s much easier to bury our heads in the sand and pretend we didn’t see anything, but as Christians (and just human beings), we need to accept that being uncomfortable with someone else’s pain is ok. How many times did Jesus sit with those who had been cast aside? That was His entire life and He has specifically called us to do the same. If we aren’t willing to be His hands, feet and heart, seeking out those who desperately need Him, no amount gun control is going to help. That is not meant to be a political statement whatsoever. Simply a stated fact that we are not doing enough for the people themselves.
So how do we start? I wish I could articulate some 4-point plan that would solve all our problems, but I can’t. All I know is that my heart aches for the families suffering today and even more so for the young man with so much pain and sadness. My heart tells me we are missing out on opportunities all around us to care for those who only need someone to pour into them the love that Christ pours into us. Maybe that’s where we start: by simple asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us someone who is struggling and then we take that first step towards relationship. I’m certain it will be awkward and we’ll fumble, but our imperfect actions can carry with them His perfect love.