For the Convicts and Victims Alike

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There aren’t many times that I hope this blog derails from it’s main goals of Youth Ministry. But in a time when our society is devastated by the actions of a single broken human being, it’s good for all areas of a system to bind together and aim for reconciliation and consonance for the families of the victims of Newtown, Connecticut. 

 

If you haven’t heard about the situation, please take time to inform yourself, for this article is written for those with understanding of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown.

 

When I first heard about this incident last week Friday, my initial reaction was anger, frustration, even confusion. As I expressed to my wife while trying to take it all in, I shared: “In a sick and twisted way, I can understand how someone would go nuts on adults. But children?....” I try not to invest too much time into the articles and reflections because it breaks my heart to read them and rethink or reimagine what took place in that school. 

 

But one of the things Jesus taught us to do was to pray for our enemies as much as our victims. This is where I think my Theology is being challenged this week. I understand how easily it can be for us to pray for our victims and their families. I haven’t had many death experiences to date, but I’ve had enough to know that it isn’t something we should wish upon anyone. But to pray for our enemies? The ones who intentionally hurt us? 

 

One of the hardest things I’ve discovered about my work as a youth pastor has been practicing what I preach. Practicing what we preach isn’t always as easy as we think it is. We excuse ourselves from the active missional field because we use our employment as an out to our action. But wearing the words we speak is much different; getting out there and doing missional work off the clock is a stretch. 

 

In light of what happened this week, I am heart broken. But I must remember to pray for this man, to pray for Adam Lanza, a 20 year old young man haunted by demons. I believe God has a good plan, but sometimes satan wins little victories, and sadly he won one on Friday. No, this wasn’t a good thing, there was darkness written all over it. But Jesus prevails, Jesus even defeated death through His work on the cross. And through that victory, I will pray for Adam, for the families, and for his ongoing work in this world. I don’t know the answer to this tragedy, but I do know that Jesus prevails. Rest in Peace, and God grace your souls, Newtown victims.

  • Do you believe that Adam deserves the same grace that the victims do? 
  • What tangible ways are you addressing this issue in your local congregational bodies?
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