January 16, 2018

Connecticut School Shooting: Coming to Grips with the Horror of Sin

Joel Arnold

Working in a Starbucks several weeks ago, my thoughts were completely sidetracked by an old, dirty van that suddenly jerked to a stop at the curb. The man and woman inside were fighting. Screaming. Veins popping out of their necks; Man gets out and hurls his keys at a wall; not a pretty sight. And then things went to another level. He grabbed her by the neck and dragged her out of the car. Another man and I were there in seconds — telling him to let her go, calling the cops, memorizing the license plate. Two minutes later the whole thing was over.

And then an interesting thing happened. All kinds of people came out of the woodwork. Lots of people had seen it. They stood there talking, discussing, and looking at the spot where everything had just happened. It was as if we all needed that time to comprehend that this really did happen. We had to help each other process and interpret what we had just experienced.

I think on a national level, days like December 14, 2012, are exactly like that. The events in Connecticut are too overwhelming to quickly comprehend and process. We hurt, we worry that our family might be touched someday, and above all, we try to understand why things like this happen. And as we help one another process the news, Scripture turns our thoughts towards ancient truths that alone can interpret what happened.

  1. Sin doesn’t just hurt the one who did it.

We’re all sinners. But the conspicuously perverse choices of Adam Lanza destroyed 26 other people, not to mention shattering the lives of their families and all the ever-widening concentric circles of people who knew and loved them. Sin stinks. It hurts, destroys, and kills. Worst of all, it doesn’t just affect the person who made the choice. Like ripples in a pond, the results of sin spread out among the people closest to us, moving outward in ever-widening concentric circles of destruction and decay. There is absolutely nothing good about sin. And while your sinful choices and mine may not seem as appalling as Adam Lanza’s, sin always stinks. Don’t do it. Run from it, hate it, and by all means never play with it. Let the horror of this awful event create in you a horror and abject hatred for all sin, whether it’s notable enough to be reported on national news or not.

  1. Only one person ever fully experienced the horrors this world is capable of.

Events like this can shake our confidence in a good God who is in control of everything. But Scripture clearly affirms that God is not the creator of sin. On the contrary, Christianity uniquely teaches that our holy God — the one who is above all and worthy of infinite glory and praise — our God voluntarily chose to experience all the agony that comes from sin. If sin affects more than the person who committed it, the ultimate proof is the fact that Jesus died. And when you think of the suffering of the cross, remember that the physical torture wasn’t even the beginning. Sin creates suffering, and the one that carried all the sin of all the world also carried its agony. Calvary was the eternal singularity where all of the world’s sin and suffering met at one place and fell on one person. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isa. 53:4-5). Jesus carried it all. On days like today when so many are hurting, there are no easy answers. But there is Someone who understands. He understands because He personally experienced all the horrors of this wretched world. He understands because He alone holds the answers.

  1. For all of its anguish, the story of planet earth ends with joy.

When any event gathers the collective consciousness of a nation, it becomes an opportunity. People will seize this tragedy to push their agendas forward. They already have. Google it. “Connecticut proves that we need gun-control laws”. Or maybe “it proves that we need more conceal-carry permits.” Everyone has their view. And in a cynical way it only proves that people are moving on. To quote Robert Frost, “They, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.”

But the truth is that horrors like this and horrors worse will continue to come. Legislation won’t fix the problem. One part of the debate should be clear — more guns or less guns, somebody’s kids will still die. What we’re seeing is the ever-widening concentric circles of sin. The longer we fallen creatures inhabit this sin-cursed planet, the more the destructive results of wicked choices echo, reverberate, and destroy lives.

Until Jesus comes! The only one qualified to end the horrors of this sin-fetid earth is the one Who experienced that horror to its depth and the one Who rose again, victorious to save. There will be an end to days like today. There will be a righteous reign of an all-powerful King and you’ll see the results around you everywhere you turn — the earth, finally restored to what it was supposed to be, and King Jesus, the center and glory of it all.

There are no simple answers to take away the tragedy of those who died today or the agony of their families whose tragedy just began. But there is a Person who understands, and there is hope because He’s coming back. So soon from now, He’ll be sitting on the throne of this earth and He will make things new.

Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Joel Arnold is an appointee with Gospel Fellowship Association Missions. He is raising funds for future ministry in the Philippines.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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