When innocent people die, it hurts those who hear of such news. It means something went wrong. Those closest to the victims feel the worst of it, of course, but I’ll get to that. When the victims are miles away and not known to us, it’s possible to disengage from the event, though one’s level of sensitivity often dictates how deeply one feels the sorrow. Or other emotions, for I’ve seen an awful lot of anger expressed by some after Friday’s sad event.
After 9-11, the magnitude of the event almost required a certain disengagement, especially considering the nature of the attack, for the desire for vengeance was huge in the hearts of many. Life had to go on for most people, so it was possible to put the sorrow and pain on hold and go about one’s daily duties.
Following Friday’s events, the whole nation was moved by the news of innocent children and school officials being gunned down so insanely. So many people were moved by the sorrow of this event.
What struck me personally was seeing the faces of the children and adults who were killed. It was as if, seeing them alive and happy, I knew them.
I’m philosophically disposed to look at these events from a certain point of view. Yet, it’s impossible for anyone to be totally detached from human sufferings.
Of course, people have brought politics into the whole event. Pro-gun control/anti-gun control are rampant on the internet. I don’t understand why people cannot take a few days to grieve before getting into all that. Who in the history of the world has made a rational decision after a tragedy?
But to move on to my point: How do we deal with such a horror? I have to look to Jesus.
When some people told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had shed, He responded, “Do you think they were any more guilty than others?” He brought the discussion back to salvation and relationship to God. He went on, “And what of those twenty-two on whom the tower of Siloam fell?” And then He warned His listeners about being just and repentant.
When Jesus spoke of the destruction of the world, He seems to have done so without emotion. He was rather matter-of-fact. He spoke of hell a lot, but His emotions were never recorded.
Yet, He wept at the future destruction of Jerusalem. He knew it would happen, and felt the sorrow of that day and what it meant, for He had a great love for that Holy City.
The other time He showed sorrow, and in a profound way, was when His friend Lazarus died. The shortest line in Scripture is John 11:35: “And Jesus wept.” It hurt for Him to know His friend had passed away.
I don’t know if this gives us a pattern to follow. I’m just struck by the facts of the Lord weeping at the death of His friend, crying at the future destruction of Jerusalem, but not seemingly sad at what He knew was the loss of souls at the final judgment along with the salvation of the just.
What does this mean for us? Maybe it all comes back to personal relationship: We weep for those we know who die; we grieve for those who will suffer; we are philosophical and reflective about the end-times. Maybe that says more than I can figure out how to describe.