That’s the question we should be asking ourselves right now. Why? Why do we have young men walking into schools and shooting innocent children and their teachers?
The day after Salvador Ramos broke the heart of every resident in a sleepy small town in Texas, the day after Americans and people around the world were shaken by the evil that took the lives of 19 innocent children and two teachers, political opportunists began their tirades and temper tantrums.
“I don’t see any pro-life politicians or judges marching around. They don’t care!”
“If we armed teachers, this wouldn’t happen!”
“They’re willing to sacrifice children to the gun lobby!”
And so forth. It’s appalling.
America, this is not the time for a political conversation. It’s time for something far deeper, something that forces us to think about who we are as a nation and consider whether we have lost our souls.
Have we become so decadent, selfish, indifferent and greedy that we simply don’t care about our fellow human beings? You know, the people living right here among us? Are we so angry and eager to demonize each other over political disputes that we fail to see the humanity of our brothers and sisters?
“Of course not!” we gasp, horrified at such probing questions. “Americans are good and generous and big-hearted!” And yet I wonder. If things are so honky dory, why do we have these school shootings? Why do we have so many murders and suicides and drug overdoses? Why have millions of families crumbled?
Though the number is waning as secularization, isolation and the breakdown of the family accelerate, millions of Americans consider themselves Christians.
What would our communities look like if every day, Christians turned to the Holy Spirit first thing in the morning and asked: “Who do you want me to help today, Lord? How can I best share Your love and hope with those I meet? Who needs to hear a word of encouragement today? Who needs to hear the Good News that You came to save sinners like me?”
Instead, we mostly grab our ever-present cell phones, and then bleary-eyed, drag ourselves out of bed to face the day, gulping down coffee and honking at the slowpoke in front of us on the freeway.
We’ve become a nation of self-involved, practical atheists. We say we believe in God, but do we act like it?
The truth is that Salvador Ramos was created in the image and likeness of God, just as his victims were.
The truth is that Salvador Ramos was a member of our community. A fellow American.
The truth is that there are probably many men just like Ramos lurking in our very own town — men who have killed their conscience and are biding their time.
The truth is that what happened in Uvalde and Parkland and Sandy Hook and Columbine is likely to happen again, in spite of all the pontificating by politicians and Monday-morning quarterbacks.
It’s not more laws that we need. In fact, it’s not a something that’s missing. Instead, it’s a Who.
We need Jesus. We need love.
No, not the “love” that’s paraded in front of us, the cheap imitation, the sentimental and pornified versions that don’t involve sacrifice.
We need the kind of love that reaches out and seeks to understand. That shares burdens and heal wounds and wisely guides. That brings people into relationship with Jesus. That looks for the lost sheep and spots the ravenous wolf before it’s too late. We’re missing that.
Christians of America, we need to get out of ourselves and get to know the people around us, loving them and sharing the hope we’ve found in Christ. He overcame sin and death and offers new life to even the most hardened of sinners.
People just like me and you who may have forgotten how much we need Him. He is the answer.
The question is, when will we realize that and live like we believe it?