Goodwill to Men

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
On Friday in Connecticut, more than two dozen, mostly children, were gunned down in an act of evil.I once read an account that young men killed on the beaches of Normandy, as they lay dying, called out for their mothers. I tear up at even the glancing thought of the cries of the children in Connecticut and dare not take the mental walk down that road.Children cry out for their mommy and their daddy. Young men on the battlefield, as death comes over them, do the same. It is a natural instinct at life’s end for the young. Just the thought of the children crying out for their moms and dads as they died overwhelms the senses of those of us far removed from the tragedy. It is an instinct, though, that we should confront.Instead, two days removed from the horror of Friday, we are beginning again the debate and confrontations about gun control. It is a debate worth having and, whether we want to or not, we will have it. Much, if any, of what will be proposed would not have stopped the massacre. But though the proposals that will soon be most seriously considered would most likely not have prevented what happened, men and women of goodwill — and most are — will make the proposals because it lets them feel in control. People want to do something. People, acting corporately, want to legislate and regulate because it is, next to election of leaders, the most powerful act of a democracy.The efforts, even if they are successful, will not stop this cycle of violence.Discussions of gun control are easier to have than discussions about mental health. But they too are easier to have than those about the collapse of the American family. History and multiple studies show that the most stable foundation of a society is a two parent nuclear household with multiple children. In the past year we have talked more and more about the rise of singles in this country, following the rise of single parents. Because much of the question of what it means to be single involves the discussion of choices, we cannot have a conversation about the nuclear family. The only conclusion that would benefit our society would be a conclusion that renders too many of the choices made by twenty and thirty somethings in our society today invalid.Unless our culture shifts back toward recognizing the need for stable families with multiple children, the situation will only get worse. Coupled with that comes difficult conversations about equality and the roles young men in society must grow up to fit into. None of these horrific incidents have been committed by girls or women, but by disturbed young men — some, to be sure, in the very nuclear families most likely to help reduce these senseless acts. Nuclear families will not cure the problem and, in fact, mass incidents like this have declined over time though the 6 worst school shootings have been in the past decade. But we look at the tragedy in Connecticut and ignore the daily killings and life destroying acts across the nation. We focus on Connecticut, but not inner-cities or impoverished communities of broken homes.When pointing out that two parent households of multiple children provide the greatest stability in a society, many deny the fact. Many demand data or more studies then try to discredit the studies. It says more about the denial of responsibility for the choices the deniers have made than it does about the studies or the facts. This is, however, why we will not change. But as government tries to spread its caring hands even further and replace or supplement the need for family, no child will ever in terror cry out for Uncle Sam, just for mom or dad.Turning its back on the nuclear family, our society has concurrently turned its back on discussing evil. Evil, like God, is mythology to many in our country even when confronted with it at the barrel of a gun.We have become accustomed in our vernacular to treat evil as the opposite of good or the opposite of God. Evil is not just a word and not the opposite of good or God, but the absence of God taking on a life of its own. The act in Connecticut may have been committed by a mentally disturbed individual, but the act was evil. The person, at the time committing the act, was evil.God and good exist. The devil and evil do as well — the incarnation of the absolute void left in the absence of God.Colossians 1:15 states, ‘[Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” As our society drifts further and further from Christ, our society holds itself together less and less. The rise of secularism coincides with the decline of family and the rise of societal chaos.In our society, it is impolite to say this. Many who reject this mock Christians. They wonder why God or Jesus were not in that school room protecting those children. Liberal gay-rights activist Dan Savage on Friday was openly ridiculing Christians and mocking God. Liberal pundits were retweeting him.They choose not to understand. They have chosen the very society that generates the heinous act we saw on Friday — a society replacing ourselves and our standards with those of God. It is a society St. Paul described quite accurately in Romans 1.


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. . . . They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator . . . . Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.Romans 1:21, 25, 28-31

On Friday in Connecticut, an evil creature entered a classroom and gunned down children in our ever increasing Romans 1 society. At this Christmas season we should remember the part of the Christmas story we often do not dwell on. Two thousand years ago, King Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem where they slaughtered all the boys age 2 and under. The coming of the Risen Lord was answered by this world with the loss of the innocents.The world is full of sin. It is easy for the non-Christian to look at what happened and rationalize away that the person was mentally ill, we need gun control, etc. It is harder, especially at this time of year, for those who do believe in God to find comfort in him instead of demanding “why?” But God does not spare us the effects of sin in the world, nor does he spare the little children.But we know by faith that “Jesus wept.” He weeps now. He welcomes home the little children and calls for us to persevere and, if we will, to turn back toward him and bring our society with us. But our society must be prepared to have larger conversations than whether or not we should regulate guns or bullets.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”




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