Every child matters, not just those in Sandy Hook

Blame guns.

It was God’s punishment on a sinful nation.

Mental illness is to blame.

Let’s eliminate public access to guns.

Let’s purge sinners from our nation!

We need more beds for the mentally ill.

Hogwash.

A gun is an inanimate object. Does a spoon lift itself to your mouth? No. A gun is a tool. If someone wants to hurt others they will just find another tool.

God’s punishment? Hardly. We live in sin in a broken world where we are free to exercise our will. Our punishment is that we spend eternity apart from God if we don’t accept the Gift he gave us, the Sacrifice he made for us. Not the deaths of innocent children. Those deaths are merely the result of the broken and sinful nature of our world.

Whether you view mental illness as strictly spiritual or strictly chemical, or a little of both, the illness alone is not to blame. I have dysthemic disorder, a chronic type of depression. Sometimes my mood dips and I skirt around the issue of hurting myself. I have a pretty hearty grasp on the sanctity of life, though, so I don’t.

Would stricter gun laws have made the events of last Friday impossible? Maybe, but not likely. When someone wants to hurt people, they’ll find a way. As a matter of fact, recent history is full of instances where people legally carrying a firearm stopped behavior like that of Adam Lanza’s, so it’s possible that stricter gun laws would actually result in more people being harmed.

Would it help if we institutionalized more of the mentally ill? Maybe. Would that have helped prevent what happened in Sandy Hook? The answer is unclear, but probably not. The truth is that our nation is focused on locking away convicts, not treating people with illnesses — whether you see that illness as spiritual or physical is immaterial.

But we must do something to save the children, some of you cry out. Yes, we do, but criminalizing everything won’t do it. Institutionalizing everyone won’t do it, either. Further, fixating on a group of kids who died senselessly won’t help, either. If the children of Sandy Hook matter, so should all children, everywhere.

The answer doe not lie in changing the system. The answer lies in changing hearts. The answer isn’t just about saving American children. The answer is about saving all children.

I read a statement from someone earlier today that Sandy Hook is what happens when we shut God out of the public square. Nope.

Sandy Hook is the result of hearts that are closed to God.

Our society clings to laws and institutions to make them safe. The reality is that laws do very little to control peoples’ actions. Where they work it is because someone has been raised to see the sense of the laws. There is a fear of consequences, at the least, and at best there is an understanding of how obeying a just law has a long-term benefit.

Laws and institutions do not encourage you to help others. At some point someone taught you that other people matter. This encouraged you to reach out to others when they are in need.

Our institutions rely on funds and when they don’t exist they don’t provide help. You and I, however, have hearts that want to reach out and help. We will find a way to do it, too.

The short version is that relationships are what heal and what makes the world a better place. The ultimate relationship, of course, is one with Jesus Christ. It is that relationship that helps me see that relying on man to make this right is a fallacy. It is that relationship that helps me to see that each life is valuable, and because each life is valuable, I cannot get any more upset over the children of Sandy Hook than I can over the 25,000 children who died worldwide that same day because they couldn’t get a cup of water. Each loss is tragic and heart-breaking.

I can’t keep a mad man from getting his hands on a weapon and killing someone, but maybe I can prevent a man from reaching that point by reaching out to him in his pain and helping him. Maybe I can help another child reach adulthood and become a doctor, a teacher, a pastor, by supporting a group like World Vision or Blood Water Mission.

Bickering with each other over gun laws and mental health institutions is just delaying the help someone needs. Get out and help someone. If you find yourself unable to get away from the mouse and keyboard, head to World Vision, Compassion International, Inca Link, or Blood Water Mission and help a child you can help.

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