When reading articles like this one
many thoughts rise and they are not just directed towards the tragedy but towards the author of the work as well. It is clear that many youth pastors are not equipped to handle these situations as we scan the verses quoted and see that many of them do not help in this case. What needs to be told in these and all scenarios is the truth. Young believers need to learn how to be spiritually educated and need to learn how to handle these situations correctly if they do not want to lose their faith in God or make an impact for him. We do not want to sound arrogant here as that is not our attitude when we write the following, but for those of us who have lived through Vietnam, Korea and WW2 these acts of violence are not hard to process. We are aware of the evil man can do. Just ask those people who were alive when Charles Manson and his cult killed their victims. These tragedies happen all the time and in every era and the believer should be the one who can process them the best as they know the source of these events. We know that evil exists and seeks to destroy God’s creation any way it can so these shootings should not come as a shock to any of them.
People may say ‘yea but what about God? He is supposed to be a loving God yet he lets these tragedies take place.’ Yes God does let these tragic events happen but for him to put a stop to all suffering, all crime then things would have to change. Dr. Craig Blomberg explained it best in his book from Pentecost to Patmos when it comes to the suffering in this world. He said, and we paraphrase, that ‘for God to end suffering he would have to bring an end to this world. To do that, God would then have to end the opportunity for all men to be saved.’ That act would mean that God would not get his desire that ll men be saved fulfilled and many more people would be sent to hell for eternity. That is not a good scenario and worse than what the gunman did in Las Vegas.
We are going to look at a few quotes from that article to help that youth pastor enable his youth and all youth to process this event better.
An evil madman in Las Vegas ended the lives of 58 individuals and injured over 480. So here we are once again as a nation, as a culture and as individuals…trying to process an event that defies what most of us could even imagine in our darkest dreams
We disagree with the label ‘evil madman’ simply because he may not have been mad (crazy, insane) and he may not have been evil. W prefer to see him as a creation of God who was not under God’s protection but a victim of evil’s desire to hurt God through destroying his creation. This perspective helps us bring a little compassion to the tragedy for the victims, the offender and their families. All the people killed or injured were not believers, they may have been good people but still destined for hell, so compassion is needed as those concert goers were robbed of any opportunity to repent of their sins. We know by the verse ‘our battle is not against flesh and blood…’ that the shooter may have been under the influence of evil when he committed that act so he may not have been evil.
Then we understand why these events take place because the Bible tells us that ‘people love darkness rather than light’ thus evil has a great opportunity to manipulate humans in to doing these tragic acts. We need to place the blame where it lies and pray accordingly. This verse helps us to understand why people do these acts of violence. They have rejected God’s way thus they are under the domain of evil and act according to those rules not God’s.
First, when tragedy strikes, it’s crucial to remember that we can bring our fears and questions to God. Our faith is expansive enough to engulf every fear and question imaginable. In the Bible, the men and women who walked closest to God also carried some of the deepest doubt
The first question we would ask here is why would believers be afraid? They do not live for this world but for God’s kingdom so why would they be afraid at all? The Bible tells us that ‘perfect love casts out all fear’ thus if we have love for God and Jesus then these events should not make us fearful, even if we are victims of such people. Our hope lies in the next world not this one. Yes we will have questions but if we read the Bible those questions disappear very quickly as we see that people will do evil things because they are under the influence of evil. We believers know why people do things like this and we also know that our duty is to help unbelievers grasp the totality of the events. We need to be armed with the correct answers to meet their questions and bring them comfort as well as ease their fears.
But remind them that God is not Google…you can’t just input an inquiry and expect a nicely wrapped godopedia type answer.
But we do have the answers and they are nicely packaged. They are all found in the Bible. One just has to put down their interpreting method and follow the Holy Spirit to the true answers. We see in the Bible where men have committed evil acts throughout biblical history, we should not be traumatized or surprised when they take place in our era. We have guidance and forewarning, we should be prepared to handle the aftermath no problem if we learn our spiritual lessons correctly.
Second, consider the fact that when great evil occurs, it should serve as a warning of the greatest calamity that will ever take place –spending an eternity in hell:
There is no need to turn a tragedy into an evangelistic event. That opportunity will come when God wants them to come. Our first priority should be to meet the needs of the victims, their families and help those who only observe these events through the t.v. etc., to grasp what took place and why. Meeting their physical and mental needs will open doors to meeting their spiritual needs. There is no need to do forced evangelism. Let God direct here. There is also no need to proclaim that this or some other natural treagic event was a judgment by God. There was no message from God saying that is so so stay away from such announcements and thinking.
This tragedy in Jesus’ day was a result of a sociopath named Pilate, who murdered innocent Galileans while they were worshipping God. Basically, this was the cultural equivalent of a public shooting. When this calamity occurred, the crowds wanted answers—and God Himself was on the scene.
Why this was mentioned we do not know but it is out of place. The next paragraph is also mishandled
What is amazing, though, is that Jesus doesn’t even try to explain the causes or solutions to the calamities. He purposely avoids going into a social discourse about the disintegration of society, or the effect that the violence in the coliseum has on people. Interestingly, He doesn’t even launch into a discussion about the tension between freewill and God’s sovereignty here.
Instead, Jesus speaks to this situation with a reminder of ultimate destiny: “…unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Jesus was not setting an example on how and when to do evangelism, he was giving a warning to people. That author misreads the passage that he quotes and misapplies it to his stated purpose for the article. While evangelism is important, it is not th eonly duty of the believer. There are other more important duties that a believer must do as well yet that fact has been ignored by the church in its haste to please God in only one area of the Christian life.
May you and your students hold out the gospel like a beacon of hope in the darkness!
If you want to be a beacon in a dark world then you need to believe and follow all of the Bible correctly. You will stand out and if you learn your spiritual lessons correctly then you will be able to make an impact for God even i tragedies like this