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It's Time for a Reality Check

Written By: Bill Finnigan  |  Posted: Friday, December 21st, 2012

The country continues to mourn over the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut. An overwhelming sense of helplessness blankets that community, and rightly so; to figure out why a 20-year old young man would wipe out 26 precious lives in a shooting spree is beyond human comprehension. That's why folks made their way to the church house, rather than the White House. Significantly, the so-called "separation of church and state" was meaningless, for broken hearted people found some solace in God and prayer. Somehow in the midst of tragedy, these people forgot that God and prayer were "illegal" in the public arena. Rather than trying to figure out the "why" of this atrocious event, many sought a place of prayer and comfort-a place to drop their heavy burdens.

I'm sure at this Christmas season; parents across our beloved land are hugging their children with greater intensity and love. A new appreciation of God's gift of family has undoubtedly flooded their hearts, despite all the unanswered questions.

Instead of acknowledging that "stuff happens" beyond human control, it's interesting how this event has been politicized. Hypocritical and "pious" governmental leaders have once again displayed their abysmal ignorance and agenda when citing guns as the culprit. No gun has ever "floated" into a classroom on its own; someone held it, and purposely squeezed the trigger. In fact, it could be argued that had there been an armed security guard on the premises, Adam Lanza could have been taken down, thus minimizing the casualties.  A gun "controlled" by the right person can be a viable solution for "damage" control. That's why we have police.

But even more outlandish than the firearms issue, is the total disregard of the culpability and guilt of the shooter. Attempts to blame his mother, (whom he killed in more ways than one), mental illness, environment, etc. are not root issues. If there's to be any redeeming value stemming from this tragedy, then the responsibility has to be laid at Adam Lanza's feet. He was a selfish, cold-hearted, evil, murderer who willfully carried out his dastardly plan. Having said that, he was undoubtedly influenced by other factors; but the wicked deed and its consequence still falls on him.

In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, the famed Psychiatrist, wrote a book called: "What Ever Became of Sin?" Being a mental health professional, one would think it unusual for him to address that subject. But he, along with other psychiatrists, had become alarmed at the increasing tendency to excuse sinful human behavior by blaming it on "mental illness." Sin, or disobedience to God, has left all of us with some degree of mental and emotional problems; and while psychotropic medication has been used effectively to relieve some mental disorders, it is by no means a substitute or remedy for human depravity and sin. Forgiveness, not "treatment," is the remedy for sin. That's why the Church is "separate" or distinct from the state; because it can do what government can never do.

Ironically, this massacre happened just eleven days prior to Christmas, which celebrates the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ "to take away our sins."  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) May this message of hope continue to resonate among those gathered together at the church and funeral services. In the midst of tragedy, there's great opportunity to embrace the true meaning of Christmas.

Make no mistake; justice will be carried out for the murderer before God's tribunal. Thankfully, God's restraining hand limits such events. But that fact should not deter us from facing the truth and gleaning something positive for our own lives. Life is short, fragile, and precious. With a new year approaching, it's time to "get real!" It's time for a personal reality check.

As the old spiritual says:

"It's not my brother or my sister, but it's me, it's me, O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer."

                Bill Finnigan is a retired pastor.  He lives in Warren, Ohio.

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