Depending on where you live you may or may not have already heard about the tragic shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012.
A twenty-four year old man entered the movie theater dressed in body armor and armed with multiple weapons and began shooting people. As of the writing of the article, twelve people have died and another fifty-eight people were injured in the attack.
No one can offer fitting condolences to the victims and to their families. Our hearts grieve with them. We are shocked by the violence that took place. We extend our sympathy and compassion knowing that we cannot fathom the loss they are feeling. I ask that you would pray for the victims, their families and the community of Aurora, Colorado during this time of tragedy, loss and grief.
Events like this bring the reality of evil and of man’s depravity to the forefront of discussion. People ask the question “why?” and there are no satisfactory answers. People ask the question “How could someone do this?” and are answered only by the platitudes of pundits and the moralizing of philosophers.
There are those who are already spinning the story in an attempt to gain political leverage in their for their own cause. There will be religious leaders who erroneously attribute the actions taken by the man with the gun as divine judgment upon our nation, society and culture. People will despicably use the suffering of others to further their own agendas in the media. The reality of the situation is stark. People were murdered in cold blood by someone whom they did not know.
People will attribute these murders to psychosis, to a chemical imbalance in the brain, to stress and to many other things. Some will attribute these murders to sin, to evil and even to demonic power.
What is the answer?
I am definitely not qualified to provide that answer. My goal in sharing this message is to remind each of us of the value and sacredness of human life. I do not want to oversimplify the issue or seem trite during this time of tragedy but people matter; all of them.
In the book of Exodus we find the record of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God upon Mount Sinai. The sixth commandment simply declares:
“You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13 NLT)
This seems like such a simple statement. There are those who will not agree with this statement based on their worldview, however most people (regardless of their faith or lack of faith) will agree that murder is wrong.
God simply declares, “Thou shalt not murder.” The natural response to that statement is, “Why not?”
The simple Biblical answer to that question can be found in the Book of Genesis:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV)
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7 NLT)
The Lord Jesus Christ declared it this way:
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)
The Apostle John further clarifies the issue:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? (1 John 3:11-17 NLT)
- We are each created in the image of God. Our lives are sacred and hold infinite and eternal value.
- We are called to love one another in the same way that we love ourselves.
- Murder is the willful destruction of the life that God has created.
- Harboring hatred in our hearts is equivalent to murder.
We are called to seek the best in this life for each other. We are called to care for one another and to love one another. Jesus came to give us the newness and fullness of life. It is the work of sin and of Satan that seeks the destruction of life.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10 AMP)