Like many of you, I have been immersed in images emanating from the tragedy in Connecticut. As the holidays approaches there are dozens of families trying to come to grips with the devastation brought on by the mass shooting. There are no deep and profound words to make what happened make sense.
There is no flowery way to summarize the situation or explain the motivation of one so ill that they could not see the value of the souls they were mowing down through their haze of mental and or spiritual illness.
The truth is that everyday we wake up; we wake up to the new mercies provided to us by God. We also wake up with no assurances that we will live to see the end of the day. This realization should motivate us to live not only for the moment, but for eternity.
We are grieving as a nation for parents who shall say a final earthly farewell to the little ones who they taught to brush their teeth, comb their hair and who just mastered tying their shoes.
We stand solemnly in prayer as these parents clutch book bags filled with crayons that will never be used and fold away cartoon bed sheets that will never be slept on again.
The pain of such loss seems unimaginable and unbearable. Yet some of these same loving and supportive people who are pouring out their concern for these families are unmoved by the sad state of their own families and relationships.
This tragedy should have brought an immediate perspective and resolution to all of us.
Children should have been hugged tighter. Parents should have been appreciated even more.
Teachers, administrators and other protectors of children hailed for their daily sacrifices to make the lives of children better. America, it is time to get things right. Now.
It is time to forgive people. It is time to let go of past issues. It is time to say, “I love you”, “thank you”, “I need you”, and “I appreciate you”. It is also time to look at ourselves and others and start doing things that make sense.
It is time for us to honor teachers and administrators and see them as vital members of the team and not as enemies.
They are the ones that will stand between our children and an assassin when you are miles away.
Not only are they often underpaid, they use the little money that they have to buy more supplies to minister to the needs of your children – they deserve your help, supply donations and utmost respect.
It is time to take mental healthcare seriously. If people have mental health issues, let’s get them help. It is not an indictment on faith or the church to use therapy or medication to regulate an imbalance.
When you hear people ignorantly shunning psychiatric drugs for others while swallowing a daily aspirin, using an inhaler and taking medicine for themselves – that’s not Gospel (good news) that’s foolishness.
If people insist on buying guns that are designed for combat – let’s get them tested psychiatrically annually. I had to be psychologically tested over a three day period to be ordained to carry the Word in the American Baptist Church – how much more should someone carrying an assault rifle for home use need to be checked to make sure that they are stable?
It’s time for us to protect our children, pray for our nation and rededicate ourselves to God. It’s also time to ask ourselves individually – am I ready to die?
Have I prepared myself spiritually just in case the next bullet passes through me?
Have I taught my children, nieces and nephews and neighbors to know and serve the Lord so that should something happen to them I could, at the very least, rest in the knowledge that it is well with their souls.
No zip code is exempt. No area too elite. No culture is above calamity. Our neighborhoods are not bulletproof and our schools are not bomb proof.
It can happen anywhere, anyway, to anyone. It’s time to get it right. Now.
January 30, 2015 //
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