Category Archives: Human Depravity

Resources for Responding to the Tragedy in Newtown, CT

It’s hard to come up with words to describe the pain and sorrow and confusion surrounding an event like yesterday. I’m posting some recommended resources to help those who want answers for how to cope in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

ARTICLES

Russell Moore > “School Shootings and Spiritual Warfare”

Excerpt… “Throughout the history of the universe, evil has manifested a dark form of violence specifically toward children. Not only did the Canaanite nations demand the blood of babies, but the Bible shows where at points of redemptive crisis, the powers of evil have lashed out at children. Pharaoh saw God’s blessing of Israelite children as a curse and demanded they be snuffed out by the power of his armed thugs. And, of course, the Christmas narrative we read together this time of year is overshadowed by an act of horrific mass murder of children. King Herod, seeing his throne threatened, demands the slaughter of innocent children.”

John Piper> “How Does Jesus Come to Newtown?”

Excerpt… “The God who draws near to Newtown is the suffering, sympathetic God-man, Jesus Christ. No one else can feel what he has felt. No one else can love like he can love. No one else can heal like he can heal. No one else can save like he can save.”

John Piper > “A Lesson for All from Newtown”

Excerpt… “Murdering a human being is an assault on God. He made us in his own image. Destroying an image usually means you hate the imaged. Murdering God’s human image-bearer is not just murder. It’s treason — treason against the creator of the world. It is a capital crime — and more. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).”

Ed Stetzer > “Three Ways Christians Should Respond to the Horror of a Broken World”

Excerpt… “Pray for hurting families and broken communities that have had their children ripped from them. Pray for churches to minister to the hurting. Pray for people not to lose heart. And, yes, pray for Jesus to come back and set this broken world right.”

Jen Wilkin > “A Day for Hatred”

Excerpt

“There is no spin to put on a story like this. Yes, we will hear stories of heroism begin to emerge over the next hours, and they are stories we will need to hear. But there is no way to soften the blow.

Nor should we want to.

As a mother watching someone else’s horror play out on a screen, I want to feel this to the core of my being. I want it to inform my thoughts and actions in a way that leaves me changed. Because on days like today we learn just how broken sin has left us, just how bleak is our landscape without a Savior.”

BOOKS

A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada

From Grief to Glory: A Book of Comfort for Grieving Parents by James W. Bruce

When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes

PRAYERS

Lord, we tremble, for we know
How the fierce malicious foe,
Wheeling round his watchful flight,
Keeps them ever in his sight:

Spread Thy pinions, King of kings!
Hide them safe beneath Thy wings;
Lest the ravenous bird of prey
Stoop and bear the brood away.

– William Cowper (1731-1800)

A prayer from Scott Smith, pastor of Christ Community Church of Franklin, TN (written the night of the tragedy)…

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

Dear Lord Jesus, we abandon ourselves to you tonight —we come running with our tears and our fears, our anger and our anguish, our lament and our longings. We collapse in your presence, with the assurance of your welcome, needing the mercies of your heart.

Some stories are just too much for us to absorb; some evil just too great to conceive; some losses beyond all measurability. We need your tears and your strength tonight. That you wept outside the tomb of a beloved friend frees us to groan and mourn; that you conquered his death with yours, frees us to hope and wait.

But we turn our thoughts from ourselves to the families who have suffered an unconscionable violation of heart and all sensibilities. Bring your presence to bear, Lord Jesus, by your Spirit and through your people. May your servants weep with those who weep and wail with those who wail. Extend your tear wiping hand—reach into this great tragedy with an even greater grace.

We cry out on behalf of the children of Newtown, those most directly affected by this evil, and for children throughout our country and the world, whose little hearts are reeling with fear and terror. Give parents wisdom and kindness, as they seek to love their children well, this night and in the coming days. Raise up gifted counselors and care givers to serve those most traumatized.

Lastly, Lord Jesus, we cry out with a loud voice, How long, O, Lord? How long before you return to eradicate all evil, redeem all tragedies, and make all things new? How long, O, Lord, how long? Your Bride weeps and waits for you. In your merciful and mighty name we pray.

LINKS

Chris Brauns has a very helpful list of links regarding the role of forgiveness in human caused tragedies like the Newtown massacre.

Identifying Your Source Idol(s)

When preaching on idols a couple of Sundays ago, I made reference to my friend Darrin Patrick’s differentiation between surface idols and source idols. The following is taken from Patrick’s book Church Planter, pages 164-167. Patrick acknowledges his indebtedness in this area to thinkers like Tim Keller, Dick Kaufman, Dick Keyes, and Jack Miller.

The IDOL of COMFORT

(Privacy, lack of stress, freedom)

Price we will pay- Reduced productivity

Greatest nightmare- Stress, demands

Others often feel- Hurt

Problem emotion – Boredom

The IDOL of APPROVAL

(Affirmation, love, relationships)

Price we will pay- Less independence

Greatest Nightmare- Rejection

Others often feel- Smothered

Problem emotion- Cowardice

The IDOL of CONTROL

(Self -discipline, certainty, standards)

Price we will pay- Loneliness; spontaneity

Greatest nightmare- Uncertainty

Others often feel- Condemned

Problem emotion- Worry

The IDOL of POWER

(Success, winning, influence)

Price we will pay- Burdened; responsibility

Greatest Nightmare- Humiliation

Others often feel- Used

Problem emotion- Anger

Does the Old Testament Condone Polygamy? (Lionel Windsor)

If you have ever read through the Old Testament, you’ve probably noticed that many of the heroes therein had more than one wife. It seems rather odd to have such a hero. First of all, I’m not sure we should consider these figures “heroes.” There is one hero in the Old Testament, God. What seems strange to many readers of the Old Testament is that the narrative seems to move along like there is nothing wrong with having multiple wives. Lionel Windsor addresses this very effectively in a recent article on the subject:

Like many good stories, the Bible’s stories can communicate deep moral truths without needing to resort to explicit commandments. Indeed, stories are often more morally powerful when there is no explicit moralising. Think of a movie like Schindler’s List, a powerful story telling us about one of the darkest moments in Western history. Now imagine, at the end of the movie, as you’ve been hit with the human horror of the holocaust, just before the credits, a commandment comes up on the screen: “The director would like to point out (in case you missed it) that you should not be racist.” Not only would this be unnecessary, it would destroy the power of the story.

Something similar happens when it comes to the Bible and polygamy. Sure, the narrators never pause to say, “Oh by the way, please, don’t be a polygamist.” But why should they? The stories make the point all by themselves.”

Great point! Read the full article HERE.

Why People Fight

Grace: “We’re fighting over that Christmas doll.”

Daddy: “Well you need to learn to share.”

Grace: “But we both want it.”

My two daughters came into my bedroom this morning, the younger one crying and the older one explaining what all the fussing was about. The above exchange reminded me of a section of Scripture that helps us to understand the root of all conflict:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. – James 4.1-2a

As parents of four young ones, we see this played out on a daily basis. Sadly we see it among adults far too often as well. On occasion we even see it in our marriage.

Continue reading Why People Fight