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Archive for the tag “Newtown”

What do we do about evil?

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

CC Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty NC… I am reading a Hindustan Times news article about a young woman in Delhi, India, who is fighting for her life after being brutally gang-raped on a bus, and her male companion savagely beaten, as the vehicle drove through the city’s streets. The Dec. 18 Wall Street Journal carried a first-person article by a single woman in Delhi who is both angered and terrified by the incident. She wants to live her non-traditional, Western-style life in peace and hates that the streets of her city are unsafe even for women accompanied by a man.

Rivers of (digital) ink about “the problem of evil” have been flowing in the United States since a young man slaughtered 20 children and six adults at an elementary school Dec. 14. The appalling attack in Delhi reinforces the painful truth: The human heart, though we prefer to think otherwise, is a dark, dark place. If a person thinks he can get away with it, he will do what he wants.

The “problem of evil” is not questioning why a loving God would allow bad things to happen. The problem of evil is why otherwise ordinary people choose to follow their dark impulses — and what does it take to create a society where people choose to do good instead?

When evil takes on flesh — Adam Lanza in Newtown or the rapist thugs in Delhi — our leaders instinctively call for the same tired, ineffective measures humanity has been implementing for millennia. For some, justice is about punishing evildoers, and Delhi’s halls echo with threats of dire consequences for the wicked accused. For others, justice is more about well-being — accomplished with more laws and better enforcement. In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, everyone from city councilmen to the President is rushing to beef up gun control and mental health laws.

More laws and better enforcement, however, will never deter wicked men from dastardly deeds, much less rid the human heart of evil. Punishment is even less adequate a cure.

What we want is for people to be good — and not just the Adam Lanzas and Delhi rapists of the world. We want our neighbors and co-workers to be good. We want our children’s teachers and our civic leaders to be good. We want to be good ourselves — stronger than the everyday selfish temptations that are always getting the better of us.

Secular-minded “progressive” people puzzle over how stubborn a problem evil is in the human heart. Politicians and pundits who put their faith in governmental problem-solving can only blame wrong-headed opposers for their failures.

The truth is far simpler: We don’t need more and better methods of fixing wicked, selfish people. We need new people with new hearts.

The solution also is ridiculously simple: We need to go back to the point where our problem began, as Paul says in Romans 1, in our refusal to acknowledge Creator God for who he is and give him thanks. Do we want people to be dead to evil and live for what is right? Do we want to see all these old things gone and everything made completely new? Don’t start scripting a new episode of Law & Order. Humility before God and gratitude for his offer of new life is the place to start.

Unfortunately, transformation can’t be delivered from the top down. The law kills, and more laws only kill you deader. The politicians can’t deliver on their promise of hope and change. New communities where justice reigns are made up of new people — and that happens one heart at a time. A dark house is filled with light, room by room.

What do we do about evil? Darkness flees from light. You know about light. You are light. Look around you. Do what light does.

It wasn’t good for Adam to be alone

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

CC NCLoner.

Don’t we see that word every time a troubled young man turns a gun on a room full of innocent souls? The clueless media erupt in a handwringing frenzy, confused that evil would rear its ugly head in their post-Christian utopia. Distraught family and friends are forced into the center ring of a media circus, unable to grieve in peace. Psychiatrists stream out of green rooms to lecture news anchors on the various psychological disorders that might be to blame. Nanny Staters, always eager to treat symptoms instead of the festering wound, flood public venues with calls for gun control. Enlightened Ones, who ordinarily deny the reality of God, take to the Internet to demand God’s people explain why he allows evil in his world.

Meanwhile, devastated souls — alone in their grief — want nothing more than the comfort of a friend’s arm around their shoulders.

Why? Why would Adam do something like this?

We’ll probably never know why any of these poor kids snaps and carries out a travesty like this. Looking for reason in an irrational mind is a fruitless endeavor. So many variables in the complex interactions that bring a young man to the brink of insanity.

But we can know one thing for sure that will help us understand why this happened, and we’ve all been talking about it already.


Adam Lanza was lonely.

One of the first insights Scripture offers us is when the LORD God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.” (Genesis 2:18 NLT)

It wasn’t good for the first Adam to be alone, and it wasn’t good this past week. Adam Lanza apparently didn’t have anyone he could turn to, someone he could confide in, a friend who knew the pain in his heart and was willing to sit with him, listen to him, care about him, cry with him. He wasn’t a monster. He was a lonely, broken, miserable kid.

Loneliness is one of the fundamental brokennesses of our society. Focused on self-satisfaction, we drive others away. Others are only too willing to be driven away because they also seek self-satisfaction. Our culture tells us the goal is satisfying ourselves. The truth is, real satisfaction only comes with self-sacrifice.

So here we are, a nation of lonely, broken, miserable individuals — separated from God and from each other.

And here we are, believers, at the heart of the greatest missional opportunity our nation offers us. Who better fits the “least of these” category than the misfit loner?

While most of our neighbors aren’t the misfits Adam Lanza was, most of them are every bit as lonely — and we are citizens of a kingdom built on relationship.

Are you “Gospel-centered”? Are you concerned about being “relevant” in your culture? Do you want to bring justice to people in desperate need?  Set your sights on breaking the oppression of loneliness that torments so many poor souls in your community.

Who is the lonely person in your world? Is there a misfit teenager in your school? Is there a single parent down the street? Is there someone in your office who keeps to himself and interacts awkwardly? Is there a nursing home in your area? With the Good’s Shepherd’s compassion for an injured lamb, reach out to the lonely people around you.

You may wind up saving a life. It may be you save 28.

Evil points us to the gospel

CC Adrees Latif/Reuters NCDavid Platt responds to the evil horror at Newtown:

When we consider all that Scripture teaches about God and evil, we are led inextricably to the gospel: the good news that God has taken the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (the death of His Son) and He has turned it into the very best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (the salvation of sinners). Evil is tragically real, God is supremely great, God is absolutely good, and the gospel is shockingly glorious.

Such truths are not intended to rest in the theological realm; they are intended to transform our everyday lives, particularly in the midst of tragedy like we have seen in Newtown. In our contemplations and conversations in the coming days, let’s be careful at every point not to minimize the tragic nature of evil, and let’s be faithful in every opportunity to magnify the glorious character of God—both His greatness and His goodness. And in it all, let’s be intentional to affirm the central tenets of the gospel: that God, in His sovereign grace, has sent His Son into a world of sin to save us from ourselves, and through faith in His life, death, and resurrection, we can know that one day soon, God is going to wipe away every tear from our eyes, and sin and suffering will be no more (Revelation 21). No matter what happens in this world, we are confident that there is coming a day when we will forever worship God in His greatness, we will forever enjoy God in His goodness, and we will never experience evil again.

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