Yesterday someone walked into class on the campus of Northern Illinois and started shooting the class up. This was a young adult, white male that did this, and this seems to be a trend. What is the cause for this growing pattern of somehow dis-heartened young adult shooting up a place? It really started with Columbine where kids that were picked on, came in with intent to kill and shoot as many people as they could. Last year there was Virginia Tech, the dude that walked into the mall with a gun, and the other guy that shot up a missions place and then a church. There was another report of a kid that was sent out letters that he was going to hijack a plane and crash into a Hannah Montana concert! Here are some reasons that have been thrown out:
1. These kids are reacting to being made fun of and seeking revenge for the pain they have felt all their lives.
2. Broken homes, the rise of broken homes over the past 50 years has led to broken kids.
3. Video games, and movies- there is something to be said about consequence free games and movies that can captivate a mind and help progress one's imagination.
Are any of these reasons valid, yes I think they all contribute, but what is the real issue tied to all of these?
Sin cuts us off from God, our true place purpose and meaning, our true relationship where we find esteem. Sin takes all of that away, it is like a disease that cuts God off, but we activley as fallen creatures seek out sin we are not victims we are criminals. The fall is where sin entered the world through Adam, cutting man off from God, who is holy and unable to associate or look upon sin.
Sin is the source of all these contributors to these disgruntled young adults. Being born without our primary relationship to God means we are born without our secure meaning and purpose, we are born lost.
Without this primary relationship we then actively, and sinfully put ourselves on a pedestal. We search for ultimate purpose and esteem in who we are, we know we cannot in the deepest part of our souls live up to this standard, but we still work and seek to be our own god.
This lose of self leads to using people to our end of giving us purpose, telling us we really are ok and loveable. We use people, either by putting them down to build ourselves up, excluding them because they are not able to provide to our purposes or we are bitter cause they do not understand and worship us as someone special and worthy to be on this pedestal where only God should be.
We blame others for our lack of esteem, we blame others for our pain and troubles. We are seeking a world where we are the center, the hero, the one that everyone esteems and loves, so often we get lost in video games, movies, books, internet social networks, or our imagination and that reality and our reality become blurred. We are so desperate to build ourselves up that we lose ourself in these worlds and often blend them with the real life.
All this is because our primary esteem and security is gone, because we are sinners. So if sin is the issue, if we can agree that sin is the dividing line of who we are, then what is the answer. Do something about the sin issue, much like cough drops are not the answer to lung cancer, only going after the disease is the answer! That only leads us to one answer! Jesus Christ!
Jesus came in sinless, not born of man, but of the a virgin so He was not tainted by the disease of Adam. He lived a sinless life where God's will, God's Kingdom, God's purposes were His only love. He then sacrificed His life by being crucified and killed by sinners, the innocent was sacrificed for the wicked. He then rose again 3 days later, to show that He had the power to forgive sin because He was man AND God, for only God can forgive sin.
Through faith now Jesus has put the sin of the Christian on Himself and took the penalty for it in our place. He not only takes our sin, but gives us His record of deeds, His earned merit of righteousness so it is as if we had lived that sinless life. So that through faith we are now reconciled to the Father, that primary relationship is restored, our purpose we were created for is restored, and our esteem goes from self to only found in Him. It does not happen over night in the fact that we still are sinners, that we are still messy, but that relationship is restored in that we are justified before God in one act and is also in process in that we are not free of sin, but are being cleaned and made new more and more.
This also enabels restoration to each other and to creation. We no longer use people for our gain, but love people because the are God's image bearers and cause we can for the first time truly love them.
Life is not perfect, not at all, but there is a real hope that in the midst of life crashing around us, we do not blame, we do not fall away into a fake world, but we hold onto the cross, we trust in Jesus, we in the midst of tears know we are loved by God even if we do not feel it, because of the sacrifice of His Son in our place. That is the realist reality there could ever be!
The answer then to the young adults that are depressed, angry and need esteem and love, is a restored relationship to their creator, their ultimate source of esteem and love, God. And that only comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
He is the answer, He has been the answer, He always will be the answer. Yes that is cheesy Christian talk, but it is true!