People think that it is a great power that keeps evil in check. But I have found it isthe little things, a small kindness, an act of love, that work.” – The Hobbit
Like everyone else in the country, I have been engrossed by the horror of what transpired Friday, Dec. 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Whenever there is a tragedy of this magnitude, the deeper, darker, unresolved questions of life begin to bubble up within and around us. Did God call these children home?….and, if so, what does that say about God? Was 20-year-old Adam Lanza a victim of mental illness or a pawn in something supernaturally evil? And what is responsible for the rise in these types of mass and senseless homicides? Is gun control the answer? How about putting prayer back in public schools?
Everyone has their own opinion and they are entitled to it. Because Sandy Hook involved little children on our own shores, it has chilled the core of our nation’s soul.We will debate all these issues and attempt to legislate some change that won’t solve the problem and will likely create others and divide us further. But we will do something because to do nothing makes us feel as powerless and vulnerable as we are.
Do we really imagine we have the great power to keep his kind of evil in check? Shall we prevail upon our government to lock up all our guns or lock up all our deviants, and do we really think either is possible?
The debate our nation should have but will ignore is more granular. That debate has nothing to do with changing “them” or changing “things” and everything to do with changing “me”. For instance, Adam Lanza does not sound like the kind of a kid I would have gone out of my way to befriend, but I sure wish someone had. I have to take that deficit in my own soul and character to heart. If I could be more sensitive…more lovingly, graciously, intentionally “out there”…maybe the shadow of kindness would fall across the next Adam Lanza and he would not erupt (and we all know he is out there).
But I have found it is the little things, a small kindness, an act of love, that work.
That feels like the Jesus way to me. For adults, at least, the issue is more than how to dodge the bullet or the deviant behind the gun. It is to be available, living faithfully, generously, receptively, even dangerously among the thirsty and hungry before they become the sick and in prison. It is living as if every cup of water we offer is life saving. More, it is becoming Jesus’ everyday waterboy in my neighborhood and in His world.
Perhaps my perspective is too simplistic or foolish for you. No force of law. No mandated reform with teeth. No political persuasion. (It is always easier to impose laws, limits and sanctions on others than it is to “let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”). Ah, but what can you expect from a Hobbit lover? Yet if you want to explore it further, may I invite you to take a little mission adventure with me next year? It’s a great way to indulge in little things that change me, and consequently, change the world!