Monday, October 5, 2015

Can God save the shooters?

So we were talking about the shooting last week at dinner . . .

My youngest spoke up and said, "why can't we just identify who these people are that want to kill everyone and then round them up and lock them away somewhere?  That way they can't hurt the rest of us."


The problem is that you never know who is about to do the next evil act.  You always see the interviews after the shootings of brothers and neighbors and teachers: "I never suspected they were capable of this."  There has to be some truth behind this - still waters may run deep . . . but they also run dirty.

After the interviews and the analysis you get people talking about tougher laws and tighter restrictions.  Get more control.  Have more laws.  It is a paradox of sorts that we feel more free when we set more laws.  Rousseau said as much.

But then there's God.  This is exactly the kind of thing that God gets blamed with.  Why did He allow this to happen?  How could he allow this to happen?

Isn't it funny that we don't want the restrictive straightjacket of morality or holiness but when we are threatened by someone with a gun we turn to all kinds of restrictions as a way to keep us free?

God has it tough because no one wants the 10 Commandments on the courthouse lawn, but then when stuff like shootings happen everyone wonders where He is . . .

This is how Jesus explained the tough position that God finds Himself in . . .

Matthew 13:24-29
There was a farmer that sowed some wheat.  Late one night as the wheat was growing an enemy came and planted weeds.  This weed is called Darnell - it looks exactly like Wheat until harvest.  At harvest the difference is unmistakable - but until then there is no way of telling.

So the next morning the farmer goes out with his hired hand and sees weeds planted among the Wheat but there is no way of telling which is which.  The hired hand asks whether he should pull up the weeds but the farmer says no.

"If you do, you might pull up the Wheat with the weeds."

So they both grow until harvest - that is when you will be able to tell the difference.  Then the farmer will come and harvest the Wheat and it will fulfill what it was grown for.  The weeds, on the other hand, will be gathered and burned.

And that is why God waits - because even weeds at this point have a chance of becoming Wheat.

So because of God's grace, we cannot round up all the evil people and ship them off somewhere.  And despite all the laws we will never be safe.  God has allowed this chaotic mess to continue for the slight chance that one person may have a life change.

It is a wager that leaves a lot of collateral damage - but apparently the risk is worth it.

Apparently God has His heart set on the loners, the twisted, the mentally unstable - those plotting their hateful acts in little rooms in the heart of American towns or in the slums of Damascus.  Regardless of where they are, the fact that they are still around - and that this is still the time of grace - shows us that we have a lot of work to do in un-twisting the twisted.

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