The tragedy of Newton, Connecticut has held the attention of our nation. So much so that the memorial remarks of the president interrupted 15 minutes of the prime time Sunday football game. We watched with approval and didn’t think twice about the game going on.
I live hundreds of miles away from Newtown, and even in this community people have been affected. Every time I saw my daughter this weekend, I felt emotional, thankful for another day with her energy and her smile.
Something else takes hold of us in the aftermath of unexpected losses like this. We know that events like this are not natural; the world was not created to witness the shooting of 20 elementary school kids. It violates our sense of goodness – part of the image of God that we retain.
So, our next step is to try to explain it so that we can move on.
We blame guns. Would people kill without guns?
We blame video games. Are we desensitized?
We blame parenting. Are bad kids produced by bad parents?
We blame funding for the mentally ill. If the mentally ill were better cared for, would they harm others?
There are, of course, seasons to ask questions. Is enough being done? How can we show more compassion to others?
But finding something to blame does not wrap things up. It may make us feel better, but the problem will still be with us because every one of us carries the problem.
We are broken image bearers. The systems of the world we create are broken.
Regardless of access to gun, playing video games, lack of friends, whether his parents loved him or not, the man who carried out these horrific acts was consumed with sin. Rejecting God and creating his own sense of rightness.
And what remains of our broken image knows it. We sense that and that’s why we want to explain it away.
That is not the way the world was created to be. This is not the world that God deemed “very good.”
That’s why this is a season for grieving. We can ask the questions and have the debates later. But we need to grieve.
Before we act, there must be grief. That is how we can help the people of Newtown.
Not by giving our answers to their questions. Not by offering solutions.
But by allowing them to grieve. Showing them compassion through this process.