When we look at the Sandy Hook tragedy, the question we should be asking is ‘what is wrong with humanity’ that we can commit such atrocities’? If the discussion does not go beyond ‘gun control’ or ‘mental health’ then our solutions will be superficial. People murder other people because they choose to unleash their hate, their anger, and their envy.
The Ten Commandments clearly condemn murder and most of us are content to live within the Sixth Commandment. However, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus unpacks that commandment for us and shows us that murder begins in the heart with anger and hatred. Society and civil authority do their best to restrain murder; they are powerless to restrain anger, hatred, and envy. We are personally powerless to overcome anger, hate, and envy.
The truth is that all of us have experienced and tolerated a bit of anger, hate, and envy in our own hearts. We live with racism, class warfare, religious hatred, national and ethnic pride, offending and being offended, etc. Though we are restrained from murder by social pressure, self-discipline, fear of consequences, and lack of opportunity, the seeds of murder have been sown in all of our hearts.
Jesus Christ did not come simply to insure a ‘murder-free’ society. He came to change hearts and transform lives. He came to show us and teach us how to love God and love others, even to love our enemies.
But, He came for more than that. He came to defeat Satan who is a ‘murderer from the beginning’ and whose murderous path we are inclined to follow. He came to break the power that sin has over our hearts causing us to think more of ourselves rather than God and others. He came to conquer death so that we can live without the fear of losing this world and the stuff of this world, knowing that we have the world to come. His death and resurrection assure us that He is victorious in what He came to accomplish.
It was anger, hate, and envy that filled the crowd as they forced Jesus to the cross, crying ‘Crucify Him.’ Yes, Jesus, the Innocent One was murdered with such intense hatred and anger that no gun control legislation or mental health system could have rescued him from the intensity of human evil.
Adam Lanza’s horrendous evil act reminds us of what is wrong with humanity. Evil exists in all of us. At times it may be restrained and confined to the inner life; at times it might lash out in in more acceptable forms; at times it reveals itself in unfettered horror. Evil exists.
The grace of God at work in our lives diminishes anger, hate, and envy. The work of the Holy Spirit creates an experience of God’s love that enables us to love in ways we never thought possible.
If Adam Lanza had known and experienced the grace of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we would be discussing a better story. This is why we continue to preach the gospel.