Oriented Sadness

Oriented Sadness

Last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, is another poignant reminder that we are in a world that is broken. Broken is the correct word because we have a sense of what is right and true, and yet, we do not obtain it here. We have a sense of what wholeness might be like, but we remain broken.

Our anger is right. But I believe that if our anger is not rightly oriented then we will see no true progress.


Oriented Sadness

Disclaimer: I do not want to use the tragic events of two weeks ago to push an agenda. The sad reality, however, is that the state cannot heal this hurt. Regulations (and there needs to be some) cannot bring justice in any true sense to the seventeen lives lost. My aim is to examine the nature and value of those lives lost in order to rightly orient our sadness into what I believe is real hope for a real hurt.


A Standard

There must be a bedrock foundation to determine the moral weight of what happened last week. There must be a standard of what is right and good and true if we are to look at a school shooting and declare it morally wrong. Why wrong? Compared to what? By what standard? How bad? On whose scale?

It is an amazing thing to see our country rally around the same side of an issue. We look at the events of Feb. 14th in Parkland and almost universally declare it a moral evil.

The thing that we do not universally rally around, however, is the reason why it is morally wrong. And if we do not get to the root of this issue then there can be no true solutions.


The Problem

What is the value of the lives that were lost?

There is a dominating worldview of naturalism that states that the Universe is all there is. There is no God. No standard.  This world is completely random and bad things just happen.

A lawn mower blade hits an anthill or a bullet hits a person, it makes no difference; we are all just chemistry. Are we of more value than ants because we have thumbs?

In other words, the universe does not care about school shootings. We can shout all we want up into a cold and silent cosmos but it will remain indifferent.

Thankfully, most people in this camp are dishonest about their intellectual convictions and respond rightly with their emotions.

The seventeen lives lost were souls. They have dignity, value and worth. This isn’t because they were cosmic accidents, but because they are made in the image of God. They were planned and designed and loved.

Another way to feel the reality that it was seventeen souls that were lost is this:  

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed. 

The point?  All the molecules that were alive in those seventeen people who lost their lives on the morning of February 14th were just as alive at the close of the day. They’re still around now.

All the energy is still alive as it ever was, so what was really lost? 

Answer: Their lives. Their souls. We don’t accept the amoral belief that they merely changed into another form.


Why Does This Matter?

It matters because you either shout for justice into the darkness of an indifferent universe or you shout to a God who can do something about it. 

Yes, the state needs to listen up too, but they are the enforcers of morality, not the determiners of it. This issue goes beyond politics and into the fabric of who we are.

So will God do something about it? Has he ever come down here and gotten dirty with the rest of us? Is he acquainted with grief like we are?

There is one God who has and who is.

Jesus came into the world as the standard of what is right and true and good (John 3:19). Tell me a better love story than Christ giving his innocent life for ours. Give me a better philosophy than the Sermon on the Mount. It can’t be done. This is the standard; He is what we long for.

Light came into the world to rage against the darkness. Light gave his life so that we can live in him free from our own sins. In Christ, we don’t have to look at moral travesties like Parkland and wonder if there is a God who will rightly bring true and lasting justice, we know that there is a God who is not indifferent to the world’s sins. He has paid the price for sinners and in his mercy he is giving them time to repent and accept his payment on their behalf. The day awaits when all will be made right.

Make no mistake; we don’t live in an amoral world where nothing matters. There will be justice, and it will be at the hands of the Creator of those seventeen precious lives made in his image.

Orient your sadness, not to an indifferent cosmos, but to a God acquainted with grief but who has overcome the grave.

For more information or questions, email me at Austin@thegatheringdh.com