Reflecting back over the school shooting that happened in Florida…my heart aches. My heart aches for the mothers and fathers whom have lost their sons and daughters and for people’s lives whom are forever changed, because one person made a horrific decision.
It’s easy for us to hate the man, Nikolas Cruz, because we start to dehumanize him. We are disgusted by his actions and don’t understand how anyone could all of the sudden snap. “He can’t be human,” we tell ourselves. But, the truth is, he is human and he made a horrible choice that took 17 lives that were cut short. Cruz was mentally unstable and has a history of mental illness. Does that make what he did any less grotesque? No, but it simply brings a little clarity to the situation and begs the question, “why was he sold the guns in the first place?”
His actions don’t only affect those 17 kids and the ones that are in the hospital that will live with the physical and emotional scars, but all of their families, friends, loved ones, and every parent across America who have their kids in public schools. My heart aches for all of these people. It’s not fair. Why does this keep happening?
I just finished reading a book by Brené Brown, “Braving the Wilderness”. In this book one of the topics she writes about is our ability to hate others is directly tied to our dehumanizing them. That what makes racism so prevalent in some cultures. It’s easier to hate a people group, if you think they are less than human. But, no one is less than human. According to scripture, God created us in His image (see Genesis 1:27). And that’s the beauty of humanity. We all, no matter our race, nationality, or social status, reflect the image of God.
God is pro people. God loves all of us…equally. He is pro humanity. Even when we are at our worst, God still loved us and sent Jesus to die for us. Even the worst of us.
When you tell people that you are a Jesus follower, especially in the wake of tragedies, you will inevitably be asked, “If God is real, why would He allow violence to happen.” “If God is all powerful and all loving, why does he allow people to die this way?” “Why does he allow violent things to happen to women and children?” “Why does God allow senseless violence?”
It’s the great paradox of understanding God. God loves us and gives us free will. That is, he gives us the ability to choose what we do and how we live our lives. We are free to choose everything from how we live, whom we worship or don’t worship at all. If he didn’t allow things (good or bad) to happen, then He would be taking away our free will, or at least the free will of horrible people.
God loves us and sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us because we as humans have a long history of making horrible choices. Because God gave us free will, sin and evil entered the world through one man’s actions (Adam eating the fruit in the garden of Eden see Genesis 3:6).
When sin and evil entered the world, we became capable of evil. Everything became about putting ourselves first. Thinking of ourselves more highly than others. Evil happens because we don’t put ourselves in the other persons shoes. We don’t love each other the way God intended us to love all.
God is Good. His Goodness gives Him the distinct privilege to be the Moral Lawgiver. It is this moral law by which the majority of humanity choose to live.
For God to intervene when bad things are about to happen, would be to take away someone’s free will. If God, takes away free will, even just from one person, He would cease to be God and would be reduced to nothing more than a puppet master and we, His marionettes.
God loves all of humanity…Black, white, yellow, red, brown…it doesn’t matter your race or color, nationality, or decisions you’ve made in the past (good or bad). Whether you were born in a mansion in America or a grass hut in Africa. God loves us equally. Just as a parent loves their children. It is up to us, as humanity, to return that love to God by accepting the free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus.
When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:37-39). Love God, Love Others.
So where is God and why does He not intervene?
God is constantly watching over each and every one of us. He is deeply grieved when violent things happen. His heart breaks when a human chooses to act out evil towards another person. But, He loves us and has given us free will, so he can’t intervene in every situation. God cares about every person in every situation. The one promise we can rest on is that God will never abandon us…
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those whom are directly or indirectly affected by this and every tragedy like it. I can’t imagine the loss and pain you are feeling, but I am praying that God will comfort you.