There has been a great deal said in the news and by pundits about the shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, the 14th. What is sad about most of what I have read and heard is the focus on the external causes coupled with opportunists trying to use this tragedy to promote their agenda.
Is there a precedent in Scripture to help us assess this massacre?
It is ironic that this shooting should occur a few days before Christmas. You see, there was a similar event that occurred shortly after Jesus was born. Matthew chapter two starting at verse 16 tells us how King Herod slaughtered all the children of Bethlehem, aged 2 and under, while trying to kill Jesus. Now look at what it says after that.
“Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
‘A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’ ”
So, how should we respond? Jesus had compassion on children. (Mt 18:1-6, 19:13-15) He also had compassion for those who were oppressed (Mt 14:13-31) and who suffered loss of loved ones. (Mt 5:4, Mk 5:21-24) He is also the one who is the Son of God who died for the sin of the world.(1 John 2:2) Because of His position as our intercessor in Heaven, we need to go to His throne of grace with boldness and ask for His healing compassion on the families in Newtown. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
This is not a time for narcissistic self-absorption and politicizing. This is a time to reach out to folks who are hurting beyond what most of us can imagine. My wife and I lost our first born son a number of years back due to the antics of a reckless driver. But even that is not quite as devastating as having a child or family member shot while in school.
Legislation will not change what has happened. What we have witnessed is the same human condition of sinfulness that existed during the time when Jesus was born. We are celebrating His birth during this time of year, because He is the only One capable of enabling us to overcome that same human condition in these days.
Let all Christians do what we did in our church service this morning. We stopped during the service and looked to God in prayer for these families. Then we were encouraged to continue praying. There are some that can do more, because they have some kind of contact with these families already in place. May God move on them to be Jesus in the flesh and extend His compassion and aid to those hurting families during this time. In the mean time, let us not fail to continue in prayer for the folks of Newtown, Connecticut.
Frank Clark, author of the column “Frankly Speaking,” is a retired Christian school teacher and principal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.