During the service this past Sunday, I spoke on how Christians should respond to tragedy, especially in light of situations like the shooting in Newtown Connecticut. I spoke of 7 things we as Christians must do.
First, we must pray. We need to pray for those whose lives have been destroyed through this. The parents without a child, or those left trying to explain what happened to siblings. We need to pray for the community, as this type of event shakes them to their core. We need to pray for our nation. If there was ever a time for Christians to join together and pray for our nation, this is it.
Secondly, we need to love our families. Sometimes my life gets busy, but life is precious, and time is of considerable value. We need to love our children enough to give them to God.
Thirdly, we need to watch our words. Normally the phrase "everything happens for a reason" just bothers me. Or when people say there is some "hidden" will of God through these events. This past weekend these phrases didn't bother me; they made me angry. God did not want this to happen. He loved these children more than we can believe, and this was not the will of God. God created these children with the ability to create, love and be loved. He gave them to families to bring joy into their lives. I say it again; God did not desire this.
Fourth, we need to acknowledge that we live in a broken world. Since the fall of man, we have seen the way sin destroys lives and families. This is no exception. We live in a society which devalues life and glorifies violence.
Fifth, we need to look out for others. There are people all around us who are hurting like this young man was who brought this violence into that school. Most people who suffer from sin will not respond to the darkness within in the same way this young man did, but they still need to be loved. That responsibility falls on Christians, who are called to take light into the darkness.
Sixth, we must remember our suffering Savior. Jesus came to live and die for us to become our Great High Priest. He suffered so sin could be washed away, so we could be free from the penalty of sin, and to free us from the fear of death. We are also told in Scripture that Jesus suffered to better understand when we go through suffering. He is our Priest, and He is our Good Shepherd, who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.
Finally, we need to long for Christ's return. One day there will be no more tears, death, mourning or sin. It is the return of Christ, and the final destruction of sin and Satan which will bring this about. "Even so Lord, come quickly."
I have written on the subject of evil, and how this connects to God here and here, if you would like to read those.
If you would like to listen to the message, here is the link.