We probably lose sight of underlying causes, and it is so incredibly difficult to anticipate or predict underlying causes… but as I look at each of the mass shootings we have faced (and I am NOT using the number 353 or 355, but rather five targeted incidents) there IS an underlying theme.
There was the shooting at the church in Charleston, SC (June), the Chattanooga shooting (July), the Oregon community college shooting (October) and then in the past two weeks: Colorado Springs and San Bernardino.
The scary thing is the underlying cause I can see is something that can’t have legislation passed on it. It cannot be controlled by tighter immigration policies or high fences. And THAT is probably what scares US.
In each of those shootings we have the underlying cause being hatred. Today’s news details the San Bernardino killers being radicalized years ago. There was a point, just like all the previous killers, where they decided to get mad. They decided to be enraged. And then, horrifically, they decided to act on that rage.
No gun control legislation, no immigration policy, no amount of wire tapping can get at those moments where rage is incited… and then acted on.
And that, in turn, enrages us. We are frightened. We are angry. We want to do something… but every measure can only be meager in “success” because tactics change.
Unless we find some “precogs” and reinvent Minority Report, we will simply not be able to get into people’s minds and stop them from rage when the point of willingness to kill has been reached.
What to do? We are so enraged, so activated in our fears… we need something TO DO!
For the past week I have been blogging different thoughts on this, but I keep coming back to my first post on all this. If we can put our fears aside, as believers, this can truly be the American Church’s finest hour.
When we refuse to respond like the rest of the world, and when we bless instead of curse… and when we pour out forgiveness instead of hatred… there is something that is possible in the heart.
This is truly the brilliance of the Kingdom of God. We are not capable in and of ourselves. But Christ IS our source. It is through our walk with Christ that something different CAN be possible. This is our choice. Just as those killers chose those moments to be enraged and act on it, we can choose as well to bless, to love, to reach out.
We simply will never know this side of eternity how many terrorist acts we may have stopped simply by choosing to reach out in kindness when we could have reached out in anger and fear. We will not know hearts that could be changed in key moments because we engaged in a conversation or did some acts of kindness that opened up new possibilities.
This is our time. And we need to seize it. We need to deliberately choose to walk away from fearful reactions and angry answers and walk in love and blessing and forgiveness.
This is our time.