Many of you are likely familiar with the song "Our God, He is Alive." It's a great song, & indeed, He is alive. There are many days that that fact alone sustains us, which reminds me of another song, "Because He Lives" (I Can Face Tomorrow). Tomorrow would be unbearably bleak without Him.
Satan is alive, too. Recently my preacher delivered a sermon on Satan. We don't talk about Satan all that often, & I think he probably prefers it that way. The more you talk about your enemy, the more you analyze his tactics, naturally the more on guard you are. Satan wants us to relax, & relax many of us have.
As a nation, we saw Satan at work last Friday, or rather, we saw a glimpse of what Satan often accomplishes under the radar. Evil surfaced in a particularly gripping way. The age of the young man responsible for the tragedy that unfolded in Connecticut last week is telling, in my opinion. I don't know many specifics about him; I haven't read much about him, & I don't care to do so. From headlines I've seen, adjectives like "quiet," "withdrawn," & "intelligent" have been used to describe him. These likely sound familiar, as these are often attached to those who commit random, senseless acts of violence to which we seek to assign a motive, I suppose in an attempt to help ourselves, & the victims' families, make some sense of what is nonsensical.
There are claims the gunman was mentally ill. I suppose there are varying definitions of mentally ill. There are so many forms of "disabilities" today that if I worked at it long enough, I could have myself declared mentally ill, withdraw from society, & draw a nice government check every month while you all continue functioning as productive members of society to support me. I believe conservatism has actually been described by some liberals as a mental illness, after all.
Certainly there are legitimate mental disorders, but it's my opinion that there are also a slew of people, many of them around the age of this shooter, who needed strict discipline when they were younger & instead were coddled by parents & doctors who told them nothing was their fault because they were somehow different. I don't know if the shooter fell into the latter category, but regardless, I imagine he knew the difference between right & wrong. He likely knew that it was evil to kill his own mother, & then march into an elementary school & slaughter children. Had he not taken his own life, I certainly would not join the chorus of those who would bleat for his "rehabilitation." As small children are buried this week, children who likely have presents with their names on them under a Christmas tree, I'm just not in the mood to hear about how the shooter, too, was a victim because as a society, we somehow failed him.
The shooter was born in the 1990s, & in his two decades of life, America has changed in many ways. There have always been individuals in our society who fit the profile of the eccentric, intelligent loner. The mere existence of these individuals is not new; we may have new, clinical terms to try & pinpoint why they are different, but these individuals have always existed. The ability to obtain weapons is also not new. Not wishing to segue into a gun tangent, I will just say that guns will always find their way into schools, regardless of how many gun laws we pass. Our current laws keep guns out of the hands of teachers & administrators who, in my opinion, we should offer higher pay to should they choose to learn to use & carry a concealed weapon. These shooters, who are so often termed "intelligent," are certainly smart enough to know where they can find large gatherings of unarmed people. Outlawing guns in schools draws the crazed shooters to schools, weapons loaded, knowing no one will have a chance to stop them.
So, the new phenomenon is not the existence of misunderstood loners, or the fact that anyone willing to ignore a few laws can get their hands on a gun & march unopposed into a "gun-free" zone. What is unique to the generation in which this shooter came of age is the prevalence of the idea that right and wrong are subjective, that one's goal is to be tolerant of all people, all beliefs, all ways of life, & that the ultimate sin is to judge someone based on their actions, implying, of course, that your way of doing things is superior to the path they've chosen.
Personal responsibility is a thing of the past. It's always someone else's fault when I make a mistake, & the only egregious sin in America today is to fail to applaud the absurd choices of others. Our culture, thanks in large part to the efforts of Hollywood & the media, has worked diligently to blur, & even eliminate, what used to be a stark line between right & wrong. As the doctrines of tolerance & "Me first" replace prayer, & The Pledge of Allegiance, & any mention of God in our schools, we are fools to continually allow ourselves to be shocked by the savagery of our youth, their indifference to human life, & their uncanny ability to blame everyone but themselves for their actions.
As a society, we unanimously condemn this young man's actions, as well we should. However, how can we expect young men & women to place proper value on their own lives, & the lives of others, when we teach them not that they were carefully & wonderfully made in the image of a perfect God, but that they descended from apes? How can we be surprised that many of our youth place so little value on human life when we allow, & our federal government subsidizes, the routine killing of the unborn? As pure & innocent as those children killed on Friday were, they still had more of a chance of survival than an unborn child who cannot attempt to run away, or hide in a closet. I know Satan rejoiced on Friday, but don't you think he is equally gleeful when an unborn child is denied life? Why isn't it news when one doctor performs twenty or thirty abortions in a week?
To clarify, I do not for a moment think anyone but the guilty young man is to blame for his actions; however, the rise in senseless murders at schools, movie theaters, & churches that our nation has witnessed should not be all that shocking when you consider the various ways our culture de-emphasizes the uniqueness of each & every human, at every stage of life. We wring our hands & ask Why? & place blame on guns, on video games, on mental illness - refusing all the while to take an honest look at our nonsensical laws, including our gun laws & our abortion laws, & the cauldron of perversion in which this nation is drowning. We're in the middle of a cesspool of our own making, & the best answer our leaders have to is further restrict the rights of individuals to claw their way out.
Satan is always on the prowl; he doesn't simply rear his head occasionally & laugh menacingly when events such as we witnessed Friday unfold. We are the ones who relax, & have become complacent, not him. We are sometimes shaken from our comfort zone when we see the faces of young children who were gunned down plastered on our televisions, & we blather about gun control for awhile before slipping right back into our predictable patterns, which is exactly where Satan wants us.
What will inevitably follow this tragedy is a push for gun control, & that will be yet another tragedy. Guns are not the problem, & no gun law will ever deter a madman intent on slaughter. The absence of guns in the hands of responsible adults inside schools is the only gun law that needs to be addressed. The root of the problem is a culture that all too often refuses to call evil EVIL & refuses to point a finger at individuals who are perverted & sinful & demand change & accountability, preferring to placate them & find all manor of reasons to explain away their evil choices.
In his sermon about Satan I referenced above, my preacher pointed out that Christ told Peter to, "Get behind me, Satan," when Peter was focused on his own desire to save Christ from the agony of the cross. Christ referred to Peter as Satan when he interfered with God's will; He didn't make any excuses for Peter's actions. If Satan used Peter, he can & will use anyone, & we are not to make excuses for them, but to point our finger, as Christ did, & identify their work as the work of Satan.
Christians have been ridiculed and relegated to the corner in this nation, & to suggest that Christianity is a solution to any of our nation's many problems is bigoted, intolerant, etc. Christianity requires that an individual admit they are flawed, sinful, & in need of help, & these are not popular ideas in a culture that encourages the placement of blame on anyone & anything other than the person ultimately responsible, the individual.
I hope the parents of these young victims can find some comfort in the knowledge that their children are with their Heavenly Father who created them & who loves them. Their loss is unfathomable to me, & the only advice I can offer them is to live the rest of their lives for the Lord. No one in the media will say this, so I will: Don't run from the Lord in the midst of this horrific storm; this is not His doing, but the work of Satan. Hate Satan, not God, & deliver a final blow to Satan by loving the Lord, who will one day reunite you with your children. That's the hope these parents have, & the hope we all have, when we lose people we love on earth. It's possible to see our loved ones again, to spend eternity with them, but there is only one road to the Heaven where these children are, & it requires finding the now nearly invisible line between right & wrong & planting your feet firmly on the Lord's side.
As this story unfolds, ignore the media & the plethora of stories they will run about gun control & the attention they will devote to the "shy, intelligent, misunderstood" individual who did Satan's work last week. Stay vigilant, always cognizant that Satan is after your soul as surely as he was after the lives of the innocents in Connecticut. Lookout for those who do Satan's work, as they are not always madmen wielding guns. The day you became a Christian, it is said that your name was written in the Book of Life; it was also added to Satan's list of targets. If you are a Christian, you are engaged in a battle, & it's one that no gun can win, & it's fought every minute of every day.
I end with a quote from C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.
If you're unfamiliar with the work, it is written in epistolary form & contains letters from one of Satan's senior demons, Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter charged with securing the damnation of a man known only as "the Patient."
It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Friday was a sudden turning, & it jolted many who otherwise give no thought to moral issues. Don't be deceived; every day the gentle slope threatens.