Words cannot express the horror experienced in the Connecticut city where a young man murdered his mother at home, then entered the kindergarten classroom in a local school, shooting to death twenty children and six others on the school staff. After the rampage, the killer killed himself.
A number of Scriptures come to mind, including: “But we know that the law…is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers…” (1 Timothy 1:8-11).
The grief of the parents and others who suffered the loss of loved ones is almost beyond our conception. Psychoanalysts and grief counselors will try to discover and explain reasons for such barbarism, but apart from Holy Scripture nothing that god-less, unbelieving worldly/secular/humanistic counselors come up with will get to the bottom of the problem of such violence in our murderous culture.
Bible-believing Christians, on the other hand, know the root cause of such violence and thus can begin to understand it and prescribe the solution to such senseless slaughter. It all began with the world’s first family, when Adam and Eve’s first son Cain murdered their second son Abel (Genesis 4). Their grief and trauma were amplified by knowing that their own disobedience and fall into sin (Genesis 3) had brought death into the world. What their killer-son did to his brother had to be traced to the sin they had passed along to him!
Still today, the disobedience of Adam and Eve is the root of all sin, including murder.
When Jesus wanted His disciples to realize what it was that “defiled” a man, He said: “Out of the [sinful] heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies….” (Matthew 15:19f). The sad truth is that it is the heart of all unregenerate people—and our own sinful nature, too—which gives birth to the most vicious and heinous of crimes, including murder.
Recognition and acceptance of this truth suggests that the only real solution to sin and all its consequences and ramifications is the gospel of Jesus Christ—that sinners become “righteous” through a new birth which creates faith in the Savior.
The law of God—or of man—can only check or restrain sin to a degree. Yes, “the law [of God] is good if one uses it lawfully,” but that law cannot change or alter the sinful human heart. That is the Holy Spirit’s domain, for “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The new birth brought about through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (also, via the sacrament of Holy Baptism: Titus 3:5-7) instills a new and clean heart.
By the same Spirit God’s reborn children are able to “rule” over the sin within. “The Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:6f). By allowing jealousy to rule him, Cain’s sinful heart drove him to snuff out the life of his brother.
Consider also King David. Guilty of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11), David was led by the Holy Spirit to record the only solution to his on-going sin problem (which remains the problem of all descendants of Adam and Eve). Turning to God in contrition and repentance, David pleaded: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness” (51:10,14).
It is not God’s fault when such horrific things as mass murders happen. God has been and remains a loving and merciful God. By
His grace He has also provided the solution to the “sin problem” within this evil, fallen world. That solution is His gospel of a Savior from sin and of a Spirit who enables “born-again” sinners to crucify their sinful flesh (Galatians 5:14) and by the Spirit’s power to rule over the sin that arises within.
Such scriptural truths help explain the cause behind mass murders and other heinous crimes. The same Scriptures are the best place for the victims to turn—and for you and me, as we all languish under sin’s ugly consequences. Jesus Christ was born to die for us. Jesus overcame sin and death by willingly enduring the horror of God-forsakenness and (innocent!) crucifixion for us. He, our Wonderful Counselor, invites the broken-hearted to come to Him for healing, saying:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).