Yesterday marked yet another school shooting. There are many natural questions in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, but the one that resounds in my mind is, “When did we lose our soul as a people?” This is the just the latest tragedy in a long line of mass shooting that highlights our lack of virtue as a people. We see in every area of public life, but tragedies like this amplify our condition. And while it is true history has always been filled with violence, we cannot help but notice the ever-increasing reality in our day of mass shootings. So common in fact are these types of event that the shooting in Florida is sure to fade in our minds rather quickly—how did we get to such a place? Societal trends like this do not occur in a vacuum overnight. Ideas always have consequences, and the ideas we have built our identity on are bringing about rotten fruit.
While pundits and politicians are quick to offer their diagnosis of our problems and their supposed solutions, they all rightly ring hollow in our ears. We know laws will not fix the problem, they may help, but no law has ever changed individual hearts. As a people we are desperately sick, so where did it all go off course?
We, mankind, are the problem. The entire identity and desires of our age are thoroughly wicked. We have replaced God with the idol of the self. You cannot idealize the self as the highest end and highest virtue of life without first severing mankind from God. When your God (the self), is threatened you can justify any and all actions. By turning to the self we have lost all standards for morality, we simply do not teach right and wrong in any meaningful way. Instead, we trumpet, “Follow your heart!” This shooter followed his heart and it lead to the death of seventeen people. How can we look such evil in the face and call it evil when everything is relative and life is all about identity politics? How can we call it evil without a God above?
We have replaced God with our own wicked selves and the results are predictable—chaos and death. As we reject God, who is light, we show that we love darkness. The more we turn inward to look for answers the darker it gets. The insanity of it all is we are convinced we can see better now than ever before! Our own foolishness is breathtaking. We are blind guides claiming sight as we repeatedly run head-first into the same wall over and over again.
There is a way out from this, but it means turning to God in repentance. It requires we teach our children they do not belong to themselves; life is not all about them. Life is found when you intentionally lose yourself in pursuit of Christ. Life is not about self-esteem and self-fulfillment, it is about picking up your instrument of death and following Him. The radical message of Christ, self-denial and faith in him, is the only hope the world has ever had—but we are convinced we know better! The more we cut ourselves off from the fountain of life, the more death we will see. This cycle will not end until many, including the church, start to believe Christ is preeminent in all things.
I wish I could say things will get better, but that would require u-turn as a society. This is of course possible, God could send his Spirit to break our hearts of stone and bring life where death currently reigns. It is here Christians must admit our failure. We have neglected offering life to our world. All too often we underestimate and under-communicate the gospel. If we want tragedies like this to lessen, Christians should turn to God in humble prayer—repenting of our laziness and pleading with him to bring about widespread repentance. He can do it, but first we must humble ourselves and set ours about to praying and declaring the kingdom. He gives sight to the blind, he brings life from death, and it is to him we must turn. We need to hear the call not victimhood and self-pursuit, but to self-denial and humble pursuit of obedience through faith in Christ Jesus. We have lost our soul as a society, but Christ is greater and he can bring new life.
Come Lord Jesus!