How does Jesus want us to think about the Texas church massacre that occurred on this past Sunday, November 5th?
As for the 26 who died, we need not grieve at all. Because of Jesus, they are all in a better place, safely ensconced in heaven and unreachable by any further acts of terror – from the shooter or anyone else. They all reside where we are going.
As for the families and friends of the 26 who died, we should indeed grieve with and for them. Their pain is real and raw. We should seek to comfort them in whatever ways are available to us and to whatever degree is appropriate for us. Obviously, it’s a big world; not everyone can help everybody.
As for the wounded and their families and friends, we should also grieve and seek to comfort them as practical and appropriate.
As for the man who sought out and shot the shooter, we should thank and bless him. He did the right thing and, from all accounts, did it the right way. Some will say that Jesus does not encourage violence. Yet Jesus only said that His name, His teaching, and His kingdom should not be advanced by violence. He did not say that governments, police, and all citizens should disarm – for if that were to happen, evil would consume the world in short order. If you must use a weapon to defend a life, defend it…but do not use a weapon or any other form of coercion to bring about devotion to Christ. He does not need or want that.
As for the shooter, God knows what to do. He will judge and He will have mercy – both. It is hard for us to see into a human mind so demented and so given over to evil that it could kill without remorse. Just knowing that the shooter dressed up in combat gear in order to attack defenseless women and children tells us that his thinking was wildly irrational, sick, and evil – beyond the comprehension of most of us. If he were living, we could impose the death penalty but that option has been taken from us. We may not know how Jesus can hold a person properly accountable for such behavior without condemning him to eternal conscious torment, but we may rest easy that He will not struggle for a solution. He is wise beyond our imagination and His punishment will fit the crime. All of us will have to give an account of ourselves to Him when we leave this life, and we won’t be able to excuse ourselves by pointing at people like this shooter.
If there are better laws or better enforcement of existing laws that could prevent such evil in the future, we should, of course, adopt them. However, it’s clear that the loudest cries for more gun laws are coming from people who are merely exploiting this crime for their preconceived political purposes. Even when such people are sincere, most of what they suggest would only keep guns out of the hands of people like the man who shot the shooter – not out of the hands of people like the shooter.
In conclusion, a massacre like this is sobering. And it should be. Let us learn what we can from it and apply it to the remaining life we have on earth. And let us teach those lessons to our children before we go.
A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
– Ecclesiastes 7:1-5 NASB
Jesus is the wisest man who ever walked among us. Let us reignite our interest in the things He taught us. In His resurrection, He reigns as God forever and ever and He has not forgotten any of the good promises He made to us when He was on earth.