Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Katrina's Musings (26 Acts of Kindness)

On December 14, I, like many people around the country started to hear the news reports of the tragic massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

A few days later, my brother-in-law e-mailed me an article written by Al Mohler Jr. that started with these words:

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]

 It has happened again. This time tragedy came to Connecticut, where a lone gunman entered two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire, killing at least twenty children and six adults, before turning his weapons of death upon himself. The young victims, ranged in age from five to ten years. The murderer was himself young, reported to be twenty years old. According to press reports, he murdered his mother in her home before the rampage at the school.

Just a few days before Christmas, I was out running a few last minute errands. As I was leaving one place of business (in a very busy shopping area) and heading toward the parking lot, a young man stopped his car in front of me and rolled down his window. Without a smile on his face and without uttering a single word, he stuck his arm out of the window and handed me a piece of paper. Then he drove off.

The piece of paper said this:

In honor of the 26 children and adults that were taken from us in Newtown, Connecticut, we offer you this random act of kindness, in hopes of bringing a smile to your face this holiday season. 

Your free Red Box movie code is ____________. It has no expiration date. 

You are number 19 of 26. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I pondered this for awhile. And here's what came to my mind:
  • Our nation is hurting, confused, and in shock over what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14 and desperately trying to do something to make it better. 
  • If I was wondering why this tragedy in Newtown happened and if God is truly in control of this world, I would be no closer to an answer through this act of kindness performed for me. 
  • This was not a "random" act of kindness but a motivated act of kindness resulting from a recent tragedy (part of a plea to America made by news personality Ann Curry to perform acts of kindness "to honor the lost children and adults of Newtown" and as a way to "help heal us all.") My piece of paper also contained an address to a Facebook page where people could talk about the various acts of kindness they have performed in honor of this movement. 
  • This act of kindness gave me a free movie of my choice but no more hope than I had moments before I received it. 
Returning to Dr. Mohler's article, he went on to say:

First, we must recognize that this tragedy is just as evil, horrible, and ugly as it appears. Christianity does not deny the reality and power of evil, but instead calls evil by its necessary names — murder, massacre, killing, homicide, slaughter. The closer we look at this tragedy, the more it will appear unfathomable and more grotesque than the human imagination can take in.

What else can we say about the murder of children and their teachers? How can we understand the evil of killing little children one by one, forcing them to watch their little friends die and realizing that they were to be next? How can we bear this? 

 Resisting our instinct toward a coping mechanism, we cannot accept the inevitable claims that this young murderer is to be understood as merely sick. His heinous acts will be dismissed and minimized by some as the result of psychiatric or psychological causation, or mitigated by cultural, economic, political, or emotional factors. His crimes were sick beyond words, and he was undoubtedly unbalanced, but he pulled off a cold, calculated, and premeditated crime, monstrous in its design and accomplishment. 

 Christians know that this is the result of sin and the horrifying effects of The Fall. Every answer for this evil must affirm the reality and power of sin. The sinfulness of sin is never more clearly revealed than when we look into the heart of a crime like this and see the hatred toward God that precedes the murderous hatred he poured out on his little victims."

I think that is a good and Biblical explanation of what happened on December 14. I read some of the articles pertaining to "26 acts of kindness" and part of the idea behind it is to prove that people are basically good and that good still exists in the world. I don't think we can prove that people are basically good. I think the Bible tells us otherwise ("None is righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10)  Even the "26 acts of kindness" movement, though certainly kind, is not pure in its motives. It appeals to the need in us to work out our goodness and to tell of it to others (one example of this is the woman who anonymously bought dessert for the table of people seated next to her in a restaurant and then shared her example of "random, anonymous" kindness on the "26 acts of kindness" Facebook page).

The senseless murder of 26 people on December 14, in Newtown, Connecticut (28 when counting the murderer himself and his mother) is impossible for us to wrap our brains around (the fact that 20 of the victims were children between the ages of 6 and 10 years old makes it unthinkable for us). I think the truly wicked condition of human hearts and the fact that evil exists in the world is the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

Dr. Mohler went on to say this in his article:

There is one and only one reason that evil does not have the last word, and that is the fact that evil, sin, death, and the devil were defeated at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. There they were defeated conclusively, comprehensively, and publicly. 

 On the cross, Christ bore our sins, dying in our place, offering himself freely as the perfect sacrifice for sin. The devil delighted in Christ’s agony and death on the cross, realizing too late that Christ’s substitutionary atonement spelled the devil’s own defeat and utter destruction. 

 Christ’s victory over sin, evil, and death was declared by the Father in raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is the ground of our hope and the assurance of the final and total victory of Christ over all powers, principalities, and perpetrators. 

 A tragedy like this cannot be answered with superficial and sentimental Christian emotivism, nor with glib dismissals of the enormity and transience of this crime. Such a tragedy calls for the most Gospel-centered Christian thinking, for the substance of biblical theology, and the solace that only the full wealth of Christian conviction can provide. 

In the face of such horror, we are driven again and again to the cross and resurrection of Christ, knowing that the reconciling power of God in Christ is the only adequate answer to such a depraved and diabolical power.

America, it is okay to weep over this tragedy. And, if you have opportunity to tangibly assist those directly (and indirectly) affected by this horrific event, please do so and do so without hesitation. But let's not numb ourselves from thinking about it by "doing nice things so we can feel better." Use this time to think deeply about the God who controls this universe, about the evil that exists within our own hearts and the heart of every human being on this planet, about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice upon a cross (payment for our sins) so we can be reconciled to our Creator and spend the rest of our days glorifying Him for it. Think deeply, America. Now is the time.

Click here to read the full article by Dr. R Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this very inportant message.was very touching,and rewarding.


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