I know you’re hurting. Your tears could replenish rivers. Your moans echo from the mountaintops. The horror and bloodshed was real at Columbine High School in Littleton. The wound was re-opened in Aurora when a Ph.D student from the University of Colorado opened fire in a movie theater, killing 12 and injuring more than 50.
How do you make sense of this? Who is the enemy? Do you start a conversation on gun control? How about your justice system? Will you blame Holmes’s upbringing or mental status? To whom will you throw the next stone?
Of course you demand justice served on James Holmes, the primary suspect in the shooting, yet you also cry to God for mercy when you reject Him and make mistakes causing others pain. Even though God did not ordain the shooting, you must understand that there is value in tragedy and suffering. God’s heart is grieved when you choose to sin against him. What mankind intends for evil, God can use to awaken and inspire you to draw closer to him. We must mourn with the victims and Holmes’s family because this brings about unity, just like it did with 9/11.
America, I suggest viewing this tragedy through the lens of the Psalms, because you are not unlike the ancient Israelites, who also lived in a violent culture. The Psalms tell the story of Israel’s righteous indignation when their people and land were plundered. They demanded justice as much as you do because God promised them the land and aid in defeating their wicked neighbors. The same God makes the same promise of deliverance and restoration to you today, but you behave as if you’ve forgotten. The primary mistake the Israelites made is precisely the same as yours. You turned away from God.
Psalm 37 says that the wicked will prosper all over the world. For a time, yes, the innocent will fall while evil seems to go unpunished. God shows you mercy not by eliminating all sorrow and removing all trials, but by giving you time to repent and carrying you through them one day at a time
Healing will not begin if you issue capital punishment to Holmes, cite mental illness to excuse his behavior, or illegalize all guns, but rather when you acknowledge your own failures before God, and return to an intimate relationship with him.
The most proactive, powerful thing you can do now, and tomorrow, and the next day is pray. Pray for the families, for the attorneys, the judges, for advancements in treating mental illness, and for Holmes. Pray. Regardless of the decisions made, the lives of the victims and their families are changed forever. Holmes’s eternal destiny, as well as yours, is God’s decision.
America, I am not discouraged by your human decadence. Instead, I see every sin as an opportunity where forgiveness can blossom and every rebellion as a focus for your redemption. Return to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. He is waiting.