For the third time the state of Colorado has witnessed a murderer run amok. The first occasion took place in 1999 at Columbine High School. The second occurred in 2007 at the offices of Youth With A Mission in Arvada and in the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The most recent, and the bloodiest, has just taken place in the Century 16 Theater in Aurora. Given these episodes and others like them, certain lessons are worth pointing out.
The first is that human suffering is real. The mayhem within the theater was only the beginning of the anguish that will result from one individual’s sinful choices. The pain of this event will scar many people for many years. Individuals who were not touched by the bullets were nevertheless touched by the trauma. The victims include loved ones who were not even in the theater but whose lives will never be the same because of the terror that was let loose. In the face of such suffering, no feeling person can remain unmoved. Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been ended or forever altered by this crime. Our souls yearn for the appearance of the One who will bring true and lasting peace and righteousness to the earth.
The second lesson is that evil is real. The murderer has already been characterized by many as a psychopath, but even psychosis does not have to result in this kind of slaughter. An individual made a choice to unleash horror. He did not accomplish this deed in a moment. He had a bright mind, he planned carefully, and he acted in ways that were calculated to bring maximum hurt to people who had never harmed him. Whether or not some pathology was involved, this act was vicious and malevolent. The right word for this man and his deed is evil. In a fallen world, the existence of evil must be taken into account. Christians should allow no naïve utopianism to stand unchallenged. Evil is alive and well on planet earth.