- - Sunday, December 23, 2012


Culture challenge of the week: Evil on the loose

The shooting in Connecticut and the tragic murder of innocent children and their brave teachers horrified all of us. As a mom — with three children I love beyond reason — my heart breaks for the parents in Newtown, Conn., who have placed their children in their final resting places and now confront a forever-empty bed at home. Their beloved nighttime rituals — tucking in, reading to and praying with their little children — were callously ended too soon.

Over the coming weeks, the possible causes and contributing factors will be analyzed and debated. And politicians and policymakers will weigh in with proposed solutions. Psychiatric illness at fault? We need more money for diagnosis and treatment. Guns kill? (Or is it that killers use guns?) We need more laws to prevent would-be-killers from obtaining guns. (Will killers suddenly abide by gun control laws?) Lax school safety? We need more metal detectors, alarms and sentries at the doors of our schools.

Those are convenient political diagnoses and solutions. And we ought to discuss issues such as caring for the mentally ill, ending rampant gun violence and protecting vulnerable schools.

But in the end, the murderous violence in Connecticut requires a moral solution, not just public safety Band-Aids, because the fundamental problem is one of evil.

Evil is real, rampaging relentlessly in our world.

Untreated mental illness, unguarded schools and weapons in the hands of criminals may exacerbate or create opportunities for evil to flourish, but they do not create evil. And stamping out or controlling those factors will not eradicate evil’s presence in the world.

So what does that mean? There’s nothing we can do to prevent another Newtown shooting? No, we can combat evil — and with confidence. For Scripture tells us God will triumph over evil.

How to save your family: Embrace of gift of the savior

The words of Psalm 10 are almost eerily on point, telling us of the wicked man:

“[A]ll his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’ He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent.”

But the Psalmist goes on, with a promise of God’s triumph over man’s evil:

“The Lord is king for ever and ever. … O Lord, thou wilt hear the desire of the meek; thou wilt strengthen their heart, thou wilt incline thy ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

As we celebrate Christmas, may we all approach this holy time in a spirit of prayer for the innocent victims of evil.

Take time this very day to reflect on the miracle of how God himself sent us his son to be our savior. And yet that beloved son — Jesus — was himself an innocent victim. Those who loved him knew the horrible suffering of seeing a loved one die at the hands of evil.

But the story doesn’t end there. Christmas also is about the faithfulness of God — and His promise to all of us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

If you have never done so, claim that love of God this Christmas. Welcome the gift of the savior into your own heart and embrace God’s promise of eternal life. Evil can destroy our lives on Earth, but it never can defeat the love and goodness of God, and it stands powerless before God’s eternal might.

May the innocent victims of Sandy Hook rest with God, in the immense joy of everlasting life. They are safe with him, welcomed by his loving embrace.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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