One of Westlake’s core values is the Gospel, the good news that Christ died for our sins and through that redemptive work, He makes people new. We believe that, more than providing justification for lost sinners so that they are legally fit for heaven, the Gospel actually transforms believers. It results in outworking compassion and love for our fellow human beings in this broken world.
The past week has been a particularly difficult one for our nation, and I believe it is fitting for Christians to reflect upon the tragedies which have afflicted St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas. These are times for us to speak frankly to our children about how Christians should respond to such senseless atrocities, to help them understand heartache, violence, and inhumanity in the light of Scripture and how the Gospel speaks into them.Our initial response is grief. The Christian feels deeply and compassionately when faced with sorrow. There are families who, in the past week, have been bereaved of loved ones, wives without husbands, children without fathers, parents without sons, and we hurt with them. This should drive us to prayer, asking God to give comfort and healing where there is ragged hurt, anger, bewilderment. The newspapers have published the names of the slain, so we can be specific, asking mercy for the families and loved ones of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith.
Our thoughts no doubt will turn to “why?” Why this continual divisiveness among our nation’s citizens? Why does violence seem to escalate? Whence does this racial animosity arise? This is where our worldview not only provides reasons, it points to the one hope and our role in it. As much as the general grace of God informs the hearts of men and women that the violent spirit of our age is wrong, there is a fundamental brokenness which pervades all of mankind, a malfunction which gives rise to every irrational aberration in human behavior. As much as we might hope that education will make people behave in a more morally acceptable fashion and show decency toward each other, we are seeing (and have historically seen) that the most highly educated human beings perpetrate some of the most heinous acts of inhumanity. “The more you know . . .” does not translate into solutions to sociological dysfunction. Until the essential brokenness in people is repaired, we can expect violence and cruelty. It has been with us since Adam and Eve (recall that their first born committed the first murder).
Let us tell our children, though, not to despair. The Lamb of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, has prevailed and offers peace for the human heart. Right now, in this fractured world, as we groan with all of creation, we can have new hearts that have been fixed and power to live as God intended for His children. Furthermore, this redemptive work is one we can enter into ourselves by working out the Gospel, shining light in darkness, showing love where it is unexpected, and sharing the good news with those who are confused, hurting, and feel helpless.
Finally, let us tell our children that it will not always be this way. God’s grand design for His creation demands an end to this present corruption. Though now we indeed groan and sigh over the tragedy surrounding us, we do so in eager anticipation of the restoration of all things to sinless, uncorrupted perfection, perfect peace and harmony. We know that is coming. This fact gives us hope and assurance to live faithfully now, praying for and loving those who suffer.
If school were in session right now, we would take the time to speak plainly and compassionately about these things to our students, your children. My challenge for you is that you would do so at home. Children are not living in a vacuum. They hear the news, and sometimes it can be frightening. Let them know that “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” both now and forever.