- Thomas a Kempis
It’s shocking and scary every time we hear about another shooting at a school. No matter who did it or why, it is almost unthinkable horror. Yet, we do have to think about it. It’s happening. It’s real. And it’s getting worse.
It's not just the school part that bothers me. It's the fact that children are committing these crimes.
Here is a list of the number of school shooting incidents by decade - 1850’s 2, 1860's -3, 1870's-4, 1880's- 4, 1890's-11, 1900's-26, 1910's-9, 1920's-4, 1930's-12, 1940's-13, 1950's-21, 1960's-16, 1970's-21, 1980's-24, 1990's-34, 2000's-40, 2010’s -46.
You can see that the numbers fluctuate between 4 and 26 per decade until the 1980’s. Then in the 90’s, there were 34 incidents. In the 2000’s, there are 40 incidents. And now only 3 years into the 2010’s, we are already up to 46. What is going on?
In truth, there is probably a variety of factors, and I’m sure you have some theories. (Who doesn't?) And we seem to be a long way from solving the problem.
Here I want to focus on one thing: the sanctity and value of human life. What is going on in the mind of a 12 year old boy when he takes a gun to school and starts shooting people? I submit to you that human life has become too cheap in the minds of too many of our youngsters.
Probably no one who reads the thinklings will have a child commit murder. According to studies and statistics, children who kill have usually experienced violence in their own home. As a rule, kids who kill don't come from stable loving homes. Nevertheless, I am concerned about a culture that devalues human life. I want to plead with you to teach your children to value human life.
Please pass along the stories and concepts I am about to share. After Noah emerges from the ark, God says to him and his sons, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:6). The reason that murder is wrong is because it destroys a Divine image-bearer.
Let me put it another way. One day when the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus they asked him publicly if it was lawful to pay taxes or not. If Jesus answered “Yes” then the crowd might turn against him. If he answered “No” then he could be subject to arrest by the Roman authorities. Jesus asked for a coin. When it was given to him he asked, “Whose image is on that coin?” The answer came back, “Caesar’s.” Jesus responded, “So give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
Typically people think of this story as a taxes story or an example of Jesus’ wisdom. But this story is even more profound. What has the stamp of God’s image on it? That’s right. You and all people were created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26-27). Therefore, all people belong to God. Give yourself to God. And don’t you dare even think about harming a precious unique creation that bears the image of our maker.