Monday, December 17, 2012

My Response to Newtown, CT

I am writing what may or may not be the first of multiple posts in response to the massacre this past Friday in Connecticut.  I am praying about the things that I feel need to be said, yet as always say them with as much class possible, speaking the truth, and respecting anyone who reads it.  If I am honest here, I most often hold inside the things I really want to say because I know how I will be judged and possibly treated.  I feel many times that in my position I have to remain silent.  While it is for the best at times, just as many times if not more, I hurt because I am required to hold inside my true feelings.

I am deeply saddened by this tragedy.  I write every bit of this with a heavy heart.  I really cannot even express how sad I truly am about what has happened in Newtown, CT.  I have read stories and watched the news and each time feel an array of emotions.  It breaks my heart to see how these innocent children and adults’ lives ended so prematurely.  I cannot help but feel an incredible amount of remorse and empathy for the parents, classmates, teachers, children, friends, and co-workers who will never again see their precious child, classmate, teacher, parent, friend, and co-worker who they lost.

I believe that if we call ourselves Christ followers then it is only natural for us to empathize for those grieving.  Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  I do not only think that it natural, but I believe that we are supposed to.  Why?  Well if we are Christ followers then it means that we attempt to emulate the character of Jesus in all that we do by following Him.  Jesus is the perfect example of empathy.  He always showed His care for everyone He encountered.  When He was told of the death of Lazarus “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

I believe that respect also goes hand in hand with empathy.  It is one thing to feel remorse for the victims, but at the same time we must show them respect while they grieve.  I think there are many ways we should do this.  First of all, we should not expect them to heal on our time.  One of my favorite quotes that I have heard Pete Wilson say multiple times is that “time does not heal all wounds, God does.”  We need to respect them by allowing them to grieve in their own appropriate amount of time.  I personally am nowhere near those affected by this tragedy, but believe I can accomplish this by not growing tired of hearing about the situation and continuing to pray for them.  Another way we can show respect for them, or anyone who has lost a loved one for that matter, is by not saying “they are in a better place.”  It may be true, or may not according to where they stood in their relationship with Jesus.  Whatever the case, nobody grieving wants to hear that because they now have a void in their lives and in their heart. 

My final thought of how we can respect those grieving is the one mostly likely to be disagreed with and one I will possibly be condemned for.  I do not think the answer here is gun carry permits.  I do not even think that the answer is more gun control (though I am in favor of).  I believe that only true answer is Jesus.  He is the only One who can offer true healing and peace.  This final point that I want to make is that the victims of this situation do not need to hear any opinions on how we need to be carry guns for self defense.  My first question in response to that is “How would people having a carry permit have helped in an elementary school?”  It simply would not have helped at all.  Someone grieving does not want to hear that.  I am not a survivor of this type of situation, but I am a survivor of suicide by a family member who used a gun.  I am someone who relives my own families tragedy each and every time I hear a gun shot or hear talk of guns.  I can tell from our own experience, having more guns is not at all what we wanted to hear in our own grieving.  I have my own beliefs on this that go much deeper, but it is not my main point that I feel the need to make.  The point is that we need to be respectful and empathize with these people who have been affected by this horrific incident. 

I do not want to have an agenda to offend anyone who disagrees with me, because that is the least of what I would want to do.  It honestly breaks my heart to know that I have offended someone.  I mainly want to help others to see another side of things.  I do have many more thoughts on the subject of guns, but today is not the appropriate time for me to share.  It may be another day, and it may not.  It has been good to express my thoughts a bit, because honestly it feels extremely lonely holding in my convictions, only sharing them with my wife, journal, and Lord.

Again, I am deeply saddened and troubled by these events.  I cannot begin to imagine how broken I would be if I had been directly affected.  I believe that it is our responsibility as Christians to lift them up not only in the coming days, but weeks, months, and years.  I know that in a few weeks, most will return back to regular lives and many will not even think about what happened in Newtown.  However for those affected it will still be real everyday.  Life will go on, but it will not go on the same way.

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