Sometimes a few days of silence after a tragedy, like Newtown experienced, is the wisest thing we can practice, especially among Christians.
James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” ESV
This very important spiritual practice is one I wish James Dobson and Mike Huckabee would have practiced this week, not to many the many others who have been parroting their insensitive and unwise words throughout social media. Some have been quick to defend what these two men have callously said with doubt that they really said what they said, but I’ve looked at their original statements and the various blogs have accurately stated what these men have declared in God’s name. Where I come from, stating that God had intent in allowing children to die for the judgment of God against our nation is a violation of scripture.
Deuteronomy 5:11, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” ESV
Sometimes I wonder if Christians realize how insane it sounds to declare that God would judge a political nation by allowing children to be murdered.
It’s downright offensive.
Matthew 18: 5“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,a it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” ESV
I wonder if men like these, and their followers, stop and think of how their words sound to a small child?
“Mommy, is God really angry enough to let me and my friends be murdered? Does God really work that way?”
How shall we ease our children’s fears and encourage their faith in God when preachers and their mindless followers continue to declare such a thing that causes our small children to question his protection?
Matthew 18: 10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.d 12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of mye Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” ESV
This horrific tragedy has opened a lot of conversations that are long over due, especially the conversation about the nature of God.
Parenting our children with the desire to nurture them in the Lord is increasingly difficult in a nation with a culture of violence, but even more difficult is raising them in a Christian culture that says God would allow this kind of violence against the most innocent of our world.
I enjoy a good action flick as much as anyone else does, but I know what my children can handle and what they can’t handle. It’s called discretion. I don’t believe in sheltering our children to the point of them being clueless to the world we live in, but I also protect them from influences that I believe would be damaging to their psyche and soul. Sometimes this means limiting video games to ratings “T” and “E” and sometimes it means limiting my children from hearing theology that would have them sleepless at night fearing God will send a mass murderer to schools because the government allows marriage equality.
This is an incredible burden to place on small children.
God doesn’t hold our children’s safety hostage in order to force the world’s governments to adhere to church standards.
We all know that we live in a fallible world of imperfect people. This broken world of people that God willingly came to earth for, in the flesh, to triumph over the grave so that we could live eternally. This God who loved us *while* we have been in our broken and fallible state. This God, who in the form of the Son, forgave those who crucified him on the cross. This everlasting merciful God who leaves the ninety-nine to go rescue one. Our gracious God who sees us through the blood of Christ, as perfect and fully paid for.
This is the God I know and love. This is the God I teach my children to love and respect.
And anyone who says God is otherwise will not be allowed to influence my children any more than I’d allow the secular world to influence my children with violence.
The God of our nation’s children was, no doubt, with each and every child and woman in the school that day. Our Living God is always with us, as the Christmas story proclaims, Emmanuel. He didn’t leave them, nor did He forsake them. Children have special angels (as seen in the passage above) that behold the face of God, daily. I have no doubt that God comforted the children and each angel compassionately ushered each of them into the arms of God. I want to believe that none of them experienced terror, but I’m not naive to realize innocent people suffering in this violence craved world.
I purposely guard myself from thinking too deeply on how terrifying that day must have been. I’ve had to limit the media exposure in our home and greatly hold back my children from seeing or hearing the ongoing, and conflicting, reports.
I especially have guarded my Asperger’s daughter from knowing too much about it. My girl is just 13 years old, but in her spirit she’s so young and naive to the world’s ways. Her sweet disposition propels her to want to have friends, but often is met with bullying by girls who notice her naivete. We’ve had countless days of her coming home in tears and slamming her door shut with words muffled in sobs, “I hate my life!” She tries to be social and friendly. She is a genuine young girl with a desire to include everyone to play and to hang out at the park. Yet she is the one who is most often pushed away.
“What’ WRONG with you?”
“You’re a weirdo.”
“Are you retarded or something?”
We tried explaining to a few parents about Asperger’s, but then she came home crying again, this time with incredible fear,
“Mommy, they asked if I’m contagious and if I’m dying. They’re telling everyone that I have a disease. Mommy, am I going to die?!?”
I wrap my arms around her and help dry her tears then one more..
“Mommy, one girl said her mom won’t let her play with me anymore.”
So this week makes it more difficult because of the rumor of Adam Lanza possibly having Asperger’s.
Asperger’s is a high functioning form of Autism and many people with Asperger’s live productive lives with very loving and supportive family members.
I found it incredibly premature for the media to introduce the notion of Asperger’s before the FBI has had a chance to get his medical records. I had thought more people understood about Autism/AS, but by the response I’ve gotten from neighbors I am wrong. Even worse is seeing the response of people in social media who are clearly uneducated about Autism/AS.
Upon a Facebook user seeing me talk of having an Asperger’s child I was told, “Don’t give your kid a gun.”
How insensitive and uneducated, not to mention bigoted!
Since it was the ‘white man’ who invaded this land and thrust the Natives out, shall I ask all the white people to not own guns or go anywhere near the Reservations?
We rant about having a violent culture then turn around and perpetuate more fear and paranoia, which causes aggression!
Bigotry begets aggression. Have we forgotten about Rwanda? Have we forgotten Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? Have we forgotten the Los Angeles Riots?
The words in the media and various religious leaders is alarming!
We want to have the mental illness discussion because we know there’s a need for mental health coverage to help prevent murder and suicide, but we continue to feed fear and paranoia into people through every television station, the radio waves, and even in churches!
Mom bloggers want to rant about their violent children as if what they face is what Mrs. Lanza faced, but it’s just more sensationalism which promotes more fear. Fear sells, violence sells, that’s why the media eats it up and perpetuates it to our nation. It makes people afraid of Autistic children instead of raising awareness and fostering understanding. It’s makes people afraid of guns and makes them want to remove our rights to own a gun. It makes small children afraid of God because clergy tells bed time horror stories of wrath that could make children afraid to go to school.
- And yet the scriptures tell us to have faith and not to fear.
- Scriptures tell us that God provides and protects.
- Scriptures tell us there is another Kingdom where God’s peace, love, and mercy are always present.
- Scriptures tell us that God loves the little children.
This is not a time to perpetuate the fear tactics of the world, the media, and some clergy. This is the time to promote faith, love and understanding.
Is it any wonder the media that profits from fear will only report the clergy who preach fear?
We have a choice of what influence we allow in our home.
I choose the influence of faith, not fear.
If we want to stem violence in our culture, then we have to take a proactive step towards limiting violence and the influence of fear.
- We have no need to be afraid of Autistic/AS children, what they need are people of compassion and understanding to come alongside them and help nurture them.
- We have no need to be afraid of guns, what we need is education and accountability.
- We have no need to be afraid of God, what we need is the true Gospel to be preached.
Luke 2: 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” ESV
May the change in our world’s culture begin with the House of God.
“Love your neighbors as yourself.” ~Jesus
Our children’s future depends on it.