Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"What is the Right Response to the Virginia Tech Shooting?"


The nation was saddened, and rightly so, by the senseless shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech University.  Our hearts went out to the students.  Those of us who are parents immediately thought of our children – the deafening realization that it could happen to them hit hard.  We thought of the staff and all that they will deal with, and those at other colleges, for years to come. 

Lives cut short.

Lives traumatized forever.

Lives never to be the same.

A culture altered forever.


But at the risk of being politically incorrect…


Have we stopped to realize that 33 people die on college campuses every week?  That 33 people die in most communities every day?  That many more than 33 people are shot and killed every day in the USA?  That countries around the world have to face this kind of senseless killing every day?


Why are we so devastated?  Could it be that the devastation we feel is not about those on the VT campus, but about us?  That it threatens our security?  That we feel violated? That we feel we have been unfairly interrupted from our bubble of safety? 


What other explanation is there for our response to this tragedy (and it is a tragedy) and the many that occur relentlessly? 


PLEASE DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME!  I'm not being calloused, but challenging us to gain perspective.  What should our response be?


Jesus' disciples, I think, were feeling something similar in Luke 13.

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Luke 13:1-9 (NIV) 


Jesus is saying:  Tragedies happen.  They are part of this imperfect world.  Don't think this is God's punishment, or that it is the worst thing that could happen.  There is something worse than death, death without repenting and having a relationship with Jesus.


If this life is all there is, then these incidents ARE the worst that can happen because it ends the only life that is.  But if there is an eternal life (and there is), then those who were in relationship with Jesus experienced the reward of an unimaginable Heaven and those that did not have that relationship entered into a punishment in Hell that is beyond comprehension.  There is something better than life and something worse than death.


So how do we respond?

What should be our response? 

     1. Live with an eternal perspective.

     2. Pray for and support those hurt, the families and friends left behind, and all touched.

     3. Live as a light, to point those around us to God because someday we all, too, will die.


There is something worse than death – death without Jesus

Let's live like we really believe it.


Boldly, Herb