Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

December 14th 2012


Newtown, Connecticut

Sandy Hook Elementary School

What to say?

I, like so many of you, have been at a great loss for words reflecting on the Sandy Hook Elem. Shooting. And yet I, like so many, are trying so hard to think of things to say. My thoughts won’t be long, but I hope they will be meaningful.

So, what do we say in the face of tragedy? Not even just an accidental tragedy, but a heartbreaking and horrific pre-meditated atrocity.

I would highly commend to you remarks from Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He, in my opinion, speaks most gently and clearly on the unbelievable events of Friday afternoon. Dr. Mohler addresses the very delicate – and especially sensitive – question of what happens to children when they die, which I found greatly comforting (heard towards the end of his briefing).

Truth be told I couldn’t add much to Mohler’s comments, but I did want to reiterate one point. Tons of news stories are fixating on the motives of the killer – who was he and why did he do what he did. (I’ll save my thoughts on glorifying murderers with attention, though I do understand investigations are a necessary part of our judicial system.) One often-asked question is: “How could someone do something like this?”

A legitimate question.

Because I love you, I’ve got to be honest.

The young man who committed murder on Friday did so because he was acting out of cruel and un-redeemed human nature. Apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ, all humans are capable of the most heinous crimes. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Friday’s shooter didn’t begin life as a good, moral man. Nothing “went wrong” to transform him from a decent member of society into a cold-blooded murderer. He was born with a rebellious and God-hating nature into a broken and sinful world.

The tough truth is you and I were born with that same nature into that same world. Apart from the saving work of Christ, we too have every inclination towards evil. We often have a diluted idea of ourselves. We think we’re generally good people. Jesus says if we so much as hate our brother, we’ve already murdered him in our hearts (Matthew 5:22). The Lord has made a way to redeem this broken world, to redeem you and me, to restore all things to Himself and to make all things new. Jesus offers life, eternal life, and right-standing before God. We desperately need a Savior. Come to Jesus! Come.

For tonight, I mourn the death of innocents along with you,

Thus says the LORD:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:15 ESV)

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