At some point in all our lives we have had that scenario where we wished someone would just die. Or we wished that someone would be hurt because of the harm they have done to us or to someone else. Indeed, just this last week in the Colorado shooting I found myself thinking time and time again, "That man deserves to die. No trial. No court. Just death. He deserves it."
I have been thinking, however, and have come to the conclusion that this is absolutely false. This is a sinful mindset and a dangerous one. No one "deserves to die" because of a sin they commit. Because the truth of the matter is this: We ALL deserve to die. Every one of us is just as sinful as the man who chose to take the lives of those people. Every one of us has done wrong. I live off the premise that sin is absolutely not relative. Sure there are sinful actions that have greater consequences, but a sin is still a sin no matter the size.
But I would like to ask this question: What is the proper response to the Colorado shooting?
Certainly we can rule out anger, hatred, harsh words. Anything that would cause US to sin is the wrong response.
However, after many a political argument and a conversation with one of my brothers on the subject, I have also discovered that the wrong response is to say there should have been more guns. We needn't get into a huge argument about why there weren't more guns, saying that if there had been less blood would have been spilled. Because here are the facts: There weren't more guns there.
The response should be this: Why wasn't Jesus there? This may seem weird at first but hear me out. The only true way to have stopped the shooting would have been if that man, the shooting, had had a personal relationship with Jesus. If that man was a Christian and lived a life to glorify God then none of that would have happened.
So the real question is, why wasn't there anyone in that man's life to point him to God? This should be sobering for us as Christians. Are we really trying? Are we really reaching out not to the 3rd world countries, not to the homeless, but to those who are living next door? Those who have degrees and are working toward PhD's. Those who have plenty of money and are simply wasting away their lives. Yes, mission trips are fantastic, but not if the person 5 feet away from us at school is lost!
At the same time we can ask this question: What message was God trying to send through that shooting? We can look through the Bible and see countless times when God brought fire upon evil doers. But this shooting was not against evil doers, in fact many Christians were significantly harmed by this!
I find the redeeming qualities to this tragedy as this: God showed us that
1) We need to reach out to our neighbors now more than ever. We need to spread the Gospel, the good news to everyone we can. We must be ever vigilant in speaking to those around us about God.
2) Miracles are not a thing of hundreds of years ago, they are a current, active, incredible happening. See the story of Petra Anderson and others. She was born with a birth defect that she and no one around her knew of until the shooting. A defect that saved her life.
sub point 2) God proved that He has formed us before the creation of the world. Before we were in the womb God knew us. God has created us all special for His purpose and glory. He has reached down and handed us physical, current evidence of His power.
So by sending this Vessel of Wrath. This man that caused terror and shocked the core of our nation, God showed His almighty glory. Equate this to Pharaoh in Egypt and the Israelites. For years and years God used the Vessel of Wrath, the evil dictator of Egypt to teach God's people many valuable lessons. And in the end God proved His awesome glory and might by destroying the man who tortured His people.
God uses horrific situations in mighty ways. We simply need to look deeper than the surface and see what He is trying to teach us.