"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15)
If you read my blog on any semi-regular basis, you have probably noticed that I haven't said a single word about the shootings at Virginia Tech. It is not due to my lack of care or concern. It is simply because I'm still trying to process it all. How can our little hearts and minds wrap themselves around a tragedy so immense? It has affected me somewhat the same way 9/11 did: shock, grief, confusion, and a strong desire to pray, pray, and pray some more.
The verse I quoted above is actually in the context of the Christian community, and how we should relate to one another. I don't feel I'm doing the verse any injustice, though, by using it to refer to this situation, as well as any other time we need to minister to those who are hurting. How will the world know we are His disciples, unless we walk in His love and show it to those who need it most? It is not the time for us to stand in judgment on a young man's parents, or on the way society treats outcasts. It is not the time for us to be pointing fingers at school officials, who did their best to deal with what they thought was a one-time incident. Sadly, they were mistaken. But all the self-righteous ways of dealing with this will not help the victims of this tragedy. And in the end, it will not help us cope with it personally, either.
Only by allowing Christ's love to flow through us can we truly be His hands and feet to those who are overcome by the pain of what they have faced. I don't live close enough to hug a mom who lost her precious child. I'm not in the vicinity and able to console a wife whose husband heroically gave his life for his students--a man who survived the Holocaust, yet was taken down by the bullets of a disturbed young man. I wish I could be there. I'm a "hugger".
But what I can do, and what we all should do, is be on our knees, praying for everyone affected by this. Maybe I can make efforts to reach out to the teens in my own area, or encourage the parents of a troubled teen.
I can take the time to show my own kids that they are loved beyond measure, no matter how tough the world gets or how hard it is to live in this whacked out society of ours. I can train them to reach out to the "outsiders" in their own lives, and give them the love of Jesus they have known all their lives.
And...I can weep...and pray that 4-16-07 will be never be repeated...
"I, even I, am He who comforts you..." (Isaiah 51:12 a)