A Christian Response To The Aurora Shooting

I was at work this morning, sitting at my desk, when I received a message from a friend who lives in another state. His message asked if I had heard about the shooting at the Batman premier in Aurora, Colorado. I don’t normally spend time surfing the web at work, but the news was too disturbing not to do a quick search.

This morning at midnight at the premier of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, a 24-year-old Colorado university student broke into the crowded movie theatre through the emergency exit and started shooting into the audience.

As I read the news reports, my heart sank and a lump formed in my throat. I couldn’t believe the reports; children, teenagers, and adults all targeted by this gunman. He walked the aisle shooting randomly. The last I read, twelve are dead and 50 injured. The reports almost bring me to tears, even now, as I think of the families of those dead and wounded.

I volunteer in my church’s student ministry, and my thoughts quickly went to all of the students who I knew were at theaters last night for the premier in our city. I live a long way from Aurora, Colorado. But this could just have easily happened in Knoxville, TN or any other city in between. How would I react if some of my students or family had been the targets of a senseless tragedy such as this?

The rest of the day I tried to stay updated on what was being discovered about the tragedy. All the while the news media made assumptions and claims about who the gunman was, what motivated him, who was at fault, and why these shootings happen.

So, what how should Christians respond to the events that are unfolding? We need to be praying. Praying for the families who have lost loved ones (some of them were only children), pray for those who are still fighting for their lives and healing from injuries that may affect them the rest of their lives, pray for those whose memories of this event will haunt them the rest of their lives, pray for the first responders who carried lifeless bodies out of the theatre, pray for those who are still trying to defuse the explosives the gunman left armed in his apartment, pray for those who have been evacuated from the danger zone, and pray for the man responsible. Yes, we must pray for the individual that has brought so much pain to so many people.

We must also be ready to answer the question, “Why would God allow such tragedy to take place?” The question comes up every time a catastrophe takes place. The whole countries begins asking the question. “If God is good, how can he let this happen?” “Couldn’t God stop this from taking place?” The answer is, of course he could. But God chose long ago, to allow man to make his own choices. He offers us peace and everlasting contentment in his arms, but allows us to choose the evils of our own choices. When people ask why, we must be prepared to tell them. It is because of our choices to turn against him. I am not trying to assume God is punishing the people in the theatre for their sin. I am saying that this 24-year-old chose to arm himself and enter the theatre to cause harm to other people. He chose to do this, and that is why it happened. There is evil in this world.

What we cannot afford to do is get caught up in the political debates that are already beginning to take place. Right now we need to mourn for and with the families hurting. Right now we need to focus on healing. Right now we need to be the Church. Not conservatives or liberals, not republican or democrat, but the hands and feet of Jesus. Pray, Church. Pray for the society that has birthed these senseless catastrophes.

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About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

One Response to A Christian Response To The Aurora Shooting

  1. Pingback: Why Does God Allow Evil? « Studying the Way

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