19 Feb Why Jesus Isn’t the Solution to School Shootings
Grief has swept our nation, and my own heart is still tender.
Last week, a teenager not much older than the students I taught massacred 17 people by shooting them in cold blood.
Then he got a snack at McDonald’s.
Every day since this tragedy, the news — both official sources and the ever-growing social media kind of news — has been filled with a nonstop dissection of how it happened and why it happened and how to prevent it from ever happening again.
I have many opinions, to be sure. The maternal side of me has thoughts, as does the former educator. The rule follower in me who sees things in black and white has her opinions, but so does the always-questioning woman who has grown adept at playing the devil’s advocate.
But today, the opinion I will allow to have a voice comes from the most important person in me — the Christ follower. She, today, is the one who will speak.
And this is what she will say: It is not enough for us as believers to simply say, as the wide-sweeping solution to this tragedy and those of its kind, “This world just needs Jesus.“
If I have read that statement once from professing Christians, I have read it 100 times. On Facebook pages and Twitter posts, I have seen the proposed solution to attacks with assault rifles as, simply, Jesus.
Hear me, please. Yes. This world needs Jesus. But as someone who has read the Bible and believes all of its truths, I am here to remind you that this world has always rejected and will continue to reject Jesus and His ways. Scripture is clear.
When Christ lived as a human, his peers rejected His claims of deity and plotted to plan His death. Back then, people refused to see their own need for Jesus, and even now, the refusal continues.
So yes, the world needs Jesus more than it needs anything, but people have a choice. And people choose not to follow Him.
Not everyone will follow Christ.
So where does that leave us in a world where children die in the hallways of their schools as they run from people with guns? It cannot leave us just saying, “People need Jesus.” It must leave us saying, “Since people are infected with evil, what can we do to protect the innocent from them?”
It cannot leave us with our heads in the sand, waiting for Jesus to come back. It must leave us taking action to protect our children however we can and demanding that those in power over us do the same.
This country has laws demanding that we stop at red lights, since people are selfish and won’t just take turns in intersections. We have laws regulating the slaughter of animals, since companies don’t automatically just do the right things with our food. We have laws requiring us to be licensed before we drive cars, since cars are dangerous and can kill people.
We intrinsically know that people need regulation and accountability, in addition to their need for Jesus. We don’t rely on Jesus to protect us from bacteria in our milk — we rely on pasteurization. Why, then, would we rely on Jesus to stop bullets in the hands of madmen? We need practical human solutions using wisdom God gave us.
This means that we stop taking sides in a battle where no one wins. It means we acknowledge that this issue is multi-faceted and complex. School shootings are about guns AND mental health AND parenting AND school safety AND a culture where life is not valued AND many other things. To choose any one of these as the only issue to address is to choose naivete and to forfeit a real solution.
Here’s what I know for sure, this week as Florida high school students are attending their friends’ funerals. We cannot continue as we are. We cannot sit back and watch our children being slaughtered. We cannot ask our teachers to be the solution to a gunman on their campus. We cannot do nothing and think this problem will solve itself.
We cannot. Because it will not.