And it happens again. You see the news reports. You feign shock. I mean, you are shocked, but not really, really shocked. Does that make sense?
“Oh, my goodness! Another mass shooting!! Could you pass the milk?”
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s awful, it’s terrible. We know this. Our hearts break, we shed a tear. We say a prayer, hold our family tight, and maybe even mutter, “Jesus, come quick.”
Well, I don’t think He’s coming as quick as you hope for. I mean, He’s coming back, but if I know the Lord like I think I do, He’s patiently waiting for some more of His children to get a clue and come back home. Like the prodigal son, half the world has taken off for greener pastures, and Abba is sitting on the front porch waiting for us to return. I know y’all have heard the old adage, it gets worse before it gets better. Well, in this world’s case, I certainly hope that’s true. Because, if mass shooting frequency is any indication of the direction we’re headed, then yeah, it’s like my Nanny said. We are headed towards hell in a hand-basket.
It wasn’t always like this, am I right? My folks watched the news. Back then we only had three channels, two that came in clear, so when the evening news came on, that’s what we watched. There were crazy people, bad people, suicide bombers, people with guns, but nothing like today. You certainly didn’t see several mass shootings in the same month. So what changed?
Some folks say it’s just access to news. They say bad stuff has always happened; we just hear about it more readily with social media nowadays. I’m not sure that’s the case. We do hear news more, in a sense that our media outlets are always open and in hand, but I wouldn’t say that’s the top cause of more bad news. If anything, social media has only opened the gateway for more loud voices to give their commentary on the news. It gives us a reason to speculate, to cause division, and it gives the devil a good way to cloud the issue. I mean, if we’re so busy debating over what causes mass crime, we’ll be unlikely to hear in our hearts the real reason. Satan loves a good distraction!
No, Linda, it’s not guns. Guns shoot bullets, but it’s people who take aim. Stricter gun laws won’t decrease murder anymore than getting rid of all the forks and spoons to combat obesity in our nation. Yeah, both a pistol and a spork can kill you, but I think the operator is the real problem.
But that makes too much sense! Instead of seeking the root cause we’ll flounder around the issue for a few more decades until it gets really bad. We’ll support sin and call it choice, we’ll march for freedom even to our own demise. We’ll even blame politicians and political parties for the direction of our country.
“It’s not my fault my son shot up the school! It’s the current, racist, political party he lives in!”
I suppose it was being bullied on the playground, not getting picked to play first base, or only being able to afford to drive a used car to school, instead of a brand new one like Jimmy.
We can psychoanalyze all the live long day, but the most obvious answer eludes us. It’s right under our nose.
Do you know why we see more mass shootings than our parents did?
Because we have changed the future.
When we were kids we sat down for dinner together with our parents instead of grabbing a quick slice of pizza before the next episode on Netflix.
Our parents were present, not both working overtime to keep up with The Joneses.
We spent time talking at the table, reading together, or playing a board game. Now everyone has their noses in their collective, electronic devices.
Our parents spent time parenting, most of our parents, anyway. Our parents’ generation didn’t leave it to the teachers and coaches to teach us right from wrong. They knew that discipline is where right and wrong is learned, and it’s how change is taught. They knew that it took a village, yes, but they didn’t leave the raising solely in the hands of that village.
Our parents were involved. We went fishing, and we talked about the birds and the bees before we got the wrong info from the big kids at the back of the bus. Nowadays, parents figure their kids have already heard it on cable television or from the internet. And yeah, sadly, they probably have.
Our parents taught us beauty was more than skin deep, that it was about the inside, not the out. It’s hard for children of today dressed in name-brands from head to toe and snapping selfies every two seconds for another fifty followers to catch this important piece of selfless advice.
Our parents prayed in school, they said the pledge of allegiance, and they got their butts whooped with a piece of wood for disrespecting the teacher. Now, the kids laugh when they get in trouble. They know their parents will bail them out. And if someone even thought about corporal punishment? No way. Cue the lawsuit!
Do I sound old fashioned? Good! We need some good, old fashioned respect for authority. We need yes ma’am, no sir, opening doors, obeying the police, and fessing up when you mess up. But even that stuff isn’t the real answer! Those are just bandaids, like gun laws and anti-bullying campaigns. Those things are all well and good, needed even, but they’re not what we really need. What we really need, what our parent’s generation had more than we have today, and what will naturally usher in all the above mentioned good stuff, is Jesus. We need Jesus.
Does that sound cliche? The devil would tell you so. He’d say that doesn’t matter. Going to church won’t solve mass shootings. And yeah, in that regard, he’s kinda right. Church attendance won’t solve a thing, but I’m not talking about religion. I’m not talking about Sunday morning sing-a-long followed by a football afternoon with too much beer. I’m not talking about crying at the altar on Sunday, but returning to your regularly scheduled life thereafter. I’m talking about a heart change. I’m talking about a life change. I’m talking about parents being responsible for their children again.
What did our parents and their parents do differently that we’ve forgotten?
They took responsibility. They knew that raising kids wasn’t just a check mark in life, like you got a gold star if they made the honor roll and stayed out of jail. They knew it was more than that! They knew it wasn’t just about getting good grades, getting into a good college, and getting a good job. It was about being a good person! They understood that parenting was a privilege given by God to raise children for God’s kingdom.
We’re not just raising the next generation of doctors, lawyers, or politicians. We’re raising good friends who will help a person when they’re down. We’re raising children to depend on the Lord for their well-being, not to depend on what society thinks about their wardrobe. We’re supposed to raise kids who are Christ-centered, not baseball-centered or Under Armor-centered. Relationship centered, not materialistic possession centered. Not high test scores centered or high popularity centered, just Jesus centered. Cause if there center is Him, the rest will fall into place as it should.
We need to have Christ the center of our homes, and you can’t achieve that by being a Sunday Family. In other words, if you’re just talking to your kids about God at church, on Christmas, or when they’ve done something wrong, then you’re doing it wrong. To raise the kind of children who are kind, the type of children who love, and the type of future generation that doesn’t solve their hurt through more hurt, then you yourself, as the parent, must place Jesus at the center of your life. They’re watching you walk, man. They’re following suit.
You can’t leave it to grandma or their Sunday School teacher. You must read the Bible with your children. You need to pray with them. You need to teach them Godly principles from His Word. Otherwise, what they will get taught will be from the world. And it’s this worldly teaching that leads to an increase in things like mass shootings and self harm. It’s the world that says, “eat the fruit. You can be more than God!” It’s your job, parents, to show them that they’ve already been given all power and authority through Christ. In Him, they are never lacking.
So, the next time another news article is released and dozens are dead, don’t ask, “what has happened to our country?!”
You will know the answer. The country didn’t change, per se, but we did. We were the change. The good news is, we can be the change still! Do you remember when I told you Abba Father was waiting for us to return home to Him? The great news is that He is a patiently waiting, loving Father, and He wants nothing more than to congregate with us on the front porch. He wants this next generation of parents back. He wants us raising the next generation of kind, loving, giving souls. He’s not asking this of our neighbors, our teachers, or even just our politicians. He is asking it of us. It’s our job to make the change.
If you don’t like the direction things have been going, ask yourself what you’re doing to make it different? If we want to see change, it must start at home. God has given us the task of shaping and molding the minds of tomorrow, and unless we put His teaching at the center of it all, things will never get better. They’ll only get worse.