The Broward School Shooting

17 dead.
14 wounded.
Gunman captured without incident.
A community devastated.

For the record.  I pastored in Coral Spring/Parkland for 6 years.  I drove by that school last Saturday on the way to an appointment in south Broward.

People are asking why?
The shooter's motives are still a secret to us.  I am confident that the shooter's motives will be debated for some time.  

People are asking how?
As far as I can tell, the school wasn't lax in their security.  But no security system is perfect.

People are asking, what's next?
Anger? Mourning?  Debate?  Healing?  This is a complicated process that will take time.  Patience and diligence to rise above the evil will be paramount.

What happened was evil.
Motive aside, it was evil.  The Bible talks about evil frequently.  It can refer to anything that is morally wrong or anything without a moral depth.  It can be used to describe anything which is against the holiness of God or to describe any kind of disaster or tragedy.  But in the end, evil is the lack of good.  Evil is the absence of morality.

God didn't do this.
People like to blame God for the evil that is in the world.  If God is all powerful why doesn't He stop evil?  Imagine with me that God chooses to stop all evil.  No one would be able to commit murder, rob a bank, talk back to their parents, or cheat on a test.  This action would affect every choice they make thus making free will a thing of the past.  Without free will, we would no longer have the ability to choose good.

This is why Paul wrote Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are created in the image of God.  We have the freedom to choose how to act.  We also have to face the outcomes of our actions.  God chooses to do good in our lives if we choose to include Him in our lives.  God even chooses not to lie, change, break His promises, reject us if we approach Him with a broken and submissive heart, or ever stop loving us.

So what can you do?

Remember Satan exists.
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Evil has been personified in a shooter.  
Remember what the source of evil is.  Satan.  He chose to rebel against God and has a mission to destroy everything that He loves.  Lifes, minds, marriages, families, health, futures and anything else he is allowed to influence.  Don't believe his lies.  

No this isn't easy.  Focus on Christ and let Him influence your heart.  What you do can bring healing. Revenge and unforgiveness cannot.

Pray with empathy.  Put yourself in the shoes of the parents and loved ones who suffered losses.  Pray that God will comfort them and help them.

Choose wisely
Evil is sly and sneaky.  It works its way in slowly breaking down one moral barrier after another until . . .

PRAY:  Dear Jesus,  Today I intercede on behalf of the community and families devasted by this shooting in Coral Spring/Parkland.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will visit and help every family who lost a loved one.  For every student who witnessed this tragedy, please help them find healing for their heart and mind.  I pray that through this your love, grace, mercy and healing power will triumph over the evil, hate, and rage.  No, we will not forget this day, but we ask that what You do in and through our lives will define it, not the evil that created it.  AMEN.