Blog posts reflecting on the horrible recent events in Connecticut are many, and I had absolutely no intention of adding my own to the list. However, as the funerals are now underway, I am still seeing a whole lot of ridiculous blame and bashing in the news and social media. I am tired of looking at it. And have a hard time staying off my soap box sometimes. So I wrote my own.
Beware of soapbox.
On a cool, autumn morning, an angry young man was working on the family farm with his brother. Anger swelled within him. He felt unloved, treated unfairly, and cheated. An argument ensued between him and his brother, and his anger consumed him. Quickly, swiftly, coldly, and before anyone could stop him, he grabbed his own brother and murdered him. His name was Cain. And his parents grieved over the death of his brother, Abel, and the devastation these actions brought upon their home.
Cain was not diagnosed with mental illness, he did not skip out on counseling or miss seeing his psychologist. He was not on pharmaceuticals, off pharmaceuticals, taking the wrong pharmaceutical, or using an illegal pharmaceutical.
Cain could not fill your ear with stories of abuse from his childhood, blame arrested development, or journal about how he wished his mother held him more.
Cain did not get shuffled through a crowded school system, have an IEP, or endure bullying by his peers.
Cain did not eat GMOs, he was not generations removed from a healthy diet, and he did not regularly enjoy a mind-altering diet of McDonald's and Twinkies.
Cain did not have a license to carry a concealed weapon, or purchase his weapon from a black market weapons dealer.
Cain did not receive vaccinations.
He did not suffer from a genetic disease.
He could not say he had no sense of morals, that his parents never took him to church, or that he couldn't remember the last time He talked with God.
And he could not blame the absence of prayer in his home, his school, or his government. (Seriously? This one really chaps me. I don't believe anyone told this to the Amish community who had the school shooting a few years back.)
And yet Cain (and Moses) (and Paul) (and others) all committed murder.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am certainly not saying that these things are of no influence. I am not denying the fact that mental illness is on the rise, or saying that we are not setting our children up for failure. What I am saying is that everything could be done right, and things can still go wrong, because the world is made up of people who are responsible for their own choices.
It is human nature for us to try and search out the answer to why something like this occurred, and try to find a solution that will keep it from ever happening again. But while sorting through it in our heads and hearts we must not forget one simple truth: the world is full of evil.
Evil is there because He loves us. It is there because we are given choice. Without it we would be mere robots unable to express true emotion - true love. Without choice there would be no evil.
Thankfully, because He does love us so, He promises to use those things in some way for His glory and good. The pain is still there. The grieving must be done. But in this knowledge we find hope.
As we move forward in an effort to heal, let us choose carefully where to put our efforts and focus less on blame. Let's focus on comforting those who are grieving, providing help when we can through financial means, and showing the evil in this world that it will not prevail because we have already completed countless acts of kindness in response. Let's be thankful we live in a country where these incidents are not the every day news, and circle close around each other to make sure that it never is. Certainly let's examine what the events teach us about how to improve individually, in our families, and as a society. Please, let us teach our children that their choices reach eternity. But let's also step back to remember that there is nothing new under the sun.
Let us grieve for our loss and for the heaven that we all need. Let us extend grace to each other as we try to do better. Let us find comfort in the mercy that is new every morning. And let us watch to see what He will bring out of these ashes.