There was a recent shooting at a fair where children were shot and killed. One was just six years old. I can still see his picture in my head, and it breaks my heart. The senseless killings, horrific acts of violence, are etched in my brain. Why are people doing these things and how do we stop them?
First, prayer. I believe in the power of prayer with all my heart; however, I understand that there is evil in this world and it will be here until our Savior returns. The first question is why? Why are people going into schools and public places to randomly shoot and kill people? In most instances, we learn that the shooter felt wronged and was in pain. They were bullied, made fun or simply ignored. They wanted to be heard or desired revenge. The why doesn’t make it acceptable; but understanding the why offers insight into the solution.
God created us with a need for others in our lives. In a perfect world, we would all love one another and act kindly. Imagine a world where the person you passed in the halls of school simply smiled at you or offered a kind hello. Imagine the popular crowd inviting the loner dressed in all black to come sit with them at lunch. Imagine a girl rejecting a boy’s request for a date with respect rather than laughing about him with her friends. Yes, a world like this might be the answer to peaceful living.
So, what is the solution? It’s written throughout scripture… to love. As a nation, we need to spread the message to show love, kindness and respect to everyone. As soon as we all realize we each have our own shortcomings, that no one is perfect, maybe then we can accept the strange person we see next door or down the hall at work; after all, he was made in God’s image just like you and I.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. -John 15:12
As children’s ministry leaders, bible class teachers and parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children this very important lesson. Whether they are the popular kid or the one being bullied, showing love and respect to others will help and it is what God calls us to do. As a new school year begins, challenge your children to find someone who is alone and include them. Whether they are the new kid or established for years, there’s always someone else. No matter what age we are, going to a new place where we do not know anyone is scary and uncomfortable. Your child could be the one to put a smile on another child’s face and make their day much more enjoyable!
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