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Newtown, CT’s Challenge: Choosing Good over Evil

800px-Black_snake_1_(PSF)In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, everyone is asking themselves, “Why?”

They’ll seek the usual suspects in guns, societal decay, video games, glorified violence in movies and television, breakup of the traditional family, devaluing of human life, removing God from schools, or mind altering psychological drugs. While all potentially played a part in this horrible event, they all seem to fall short in explaining why anyone would senselessly kill innocent children full of hope and life.

Individually, any one of these issues is not necessarily the culprit, but in concert they produce the kind of mayhem and suffering unimaginable to the average human being.

Since Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, evil has been a part of mankind’s existence.

Evil has killed countless victims of all ages since the beginning of recorded time. From the birth of Christ, King Herod ordered all male babies killed. The Aztecs offered human sacrifices. Hitler extinguished millions in gas chambers and the killing fields in Cambodia were littered with bodies. Modern suicide bombers do not distinguish between innocent and combatant.

Not a day in history has passed without man killing one another.

Volumes could be filled with the names of innocent souls whose voices were forever silenced. The atrocities mankind has heaped upon one another are countless. Millions of human beings in this country alone have been killed even before being allowed to be born. Are they any less innocent than the young school children violently gunned down this past week?

Evil is real and it hides in every human heart.

Some may ask, “Where was God in all this?” “Why does he allow such things to happen?” If he is all loving, why doesn’t he stop evil?”

He did. He gave us his Son.

God loved us so much that he was willing to give us a choice. Despite knowing all the pain it would cause, it was necessary for him to allow us to choose between good and evil and to allow evil to exist. Mankind chose sin (to rebel against God) and God provided a remedy for it through the sacrifice of his own innocent Child, Jesus Christ.

It’s not for me to completely comprehend the complexities of God, nor am I capable in my human weakness.

He gives us a choice to make between good and evil, light and darkness, blessing and cursing, eternal life and eternal suffering.

It’s really that simple. We either choose his way and his plan, or we reject it.

God has the luxury of being outside of time. He is the beginning and the end. In our human existence, we cannot fully understand the complexities of this truth but we can accept it on faith. I do not completely understand nor can I fully explain how cells metabolize, how life begins, how gravity works, how my brain functions, why the earth has a molten center, the vastness of the universe, the structure of DNA, or the nature of a woman, but I accept it as it is.

Just as difficult, I cannot fully explain why God allows us humans to slaughter one another, but he gave us a choice and sadly many choose evil.

Like sheep, we can pretend that the wolf is not lurking in the darkness but we all instinctively know that he is. We can fool ourselves by thinking that if we do this or do that or go here or go there that he won’t follow us. The sheep dogs among us often succeed at protecting the flock but that does not change the nature of the wolf. Punishing the sheep dog for the crimes of the wolf is not the answer either. Sadly, to the sheep, the two are indistinguishable.

Accepting God’s forgiveness through faith in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ will not make the evil go away during our mortal lives. We must still live with the fall and sin of mankind. It has to be that way in order for us to have a free choice. You see, God is not interested in forcing us to love him despite all the pain that it causes him.

We can discuss gun control, violence, morality and the rest another day.

Today we mourn for the lost and weep for the living whose lives are forever changed.

We look to our Creator to give us peace and strength through this painful time.

We find solace that God knows what it is like to lose a child and we find peace in knowing that through this Child, we have been given eternal forgiveness for our evil.

Accepting or rejecting it is up to us.

Steve Sheldon

Steve Sheldon is a lifelong outdoorsman, hunter, gun-rights enthusiast and widely published author. Steve spent a dozen years in private industry as an investment broker and owner of multiple businesses. He served the National Rifle Association almost ten years in various capacities before moving to Americans for Prosperity in his current role of External Affairs Officer. Steve has held various church leadership roles over the years and served in a jail ministry.