CT

I’m not qualified to speak about political solutions for or evaluations of what happened at Sandy Hook. I think it would be inappropriate to try to simplify the situation and try to control it with nice sounding words and statements of hope that apply to a situation far beyond my emotional comprehension.

I would like to share my struggle and my personal reaction. It was eye opening for me to realize what was going on inside of me when I started to hear about what had happened.

It is the weirdest thing to realize that something horrible happened today, just an hour or two ago. There was no “disturbance in the force” – Star Wars lied to me. There was no feeling of dread or horror for me in my North Minneapolis home. Life was normal. Just another day.

Then I looked on Facebook and started quickly to realize that something bad had happened. A shooting. A school. Kids. I turned over to a news site and started reading and viewing. Emotions started to kick in. Even as I write this, days later, my eyes are tearing up. I’m about to have my first child enter this world. This is the world my kid is coming into. That messes with me.

To be honest, something inside of me was breaking as I started to hear the stories. I have a hard time not imagining what it must have been like. I was starting to hurt inside. I was starting to get angry. The giant looming, “Why!?” was surfacing again after many years of lying dormant.

Then, it happened. It was strange and foreign. I remember reacting to violence and death and tragedy before, but this was new. I remember watching the towers fall and thinking that this couldn’t be happening now. Surely this was something that happened twenty, thirty, forty years ago, right? Then I remember processing these different events. What do we do now? How do we keep this from happening again? This isn’t okay. This needs to be stopped. Something needs to change. Something has to be done.

I don’t know what has changed in me since those other events, but this was my honest, authentic reaction and it took me off guard:

The world needs Jesus.

I don’t think I’ve ever reacted that way, authentically, before. Forced? Sure. Conjured? You bet. But, to have those thoughts spring up within me in the face of shear terror was, well, weird.

Why do I think that the world needs Jesus in light of this event? Why does the horrific death of little children stir something in me that makes me spontaneously desire for everyone to know Jesus?

The strangest part was that my thoughts were not, “I want everyone to know Jesus so that they will go to heaven when they die.” No, I was more concerned about the here and now. I was experiencing a deep-founded belief that the person who took up those guns could have been changed by the blood of Jesus, preventing all of this from happening in the first place.

Honestly, that sounds idealistic, cliche, and corny. But, it is my deep and true belief.

I have actively been doing prayer counseling for about a year and a half. I have been doing discipleship for just over 6 months. I have seen broken people. I have worked with rape victims, non-functional anxiety-ridden men, the disturbed, the rage-full, and even the demonized. I have seen God heal. I am speaking from experience, not simply theology.

Today, I hear two primary answers to the tragedy:

  1. Take away the guns.
  2. Give more people more guns.

There has to be another way. There has to be more. Regulations will never change people (see Col. 2:23) and more guns will, at best, use violence to curb violence. Violence + violence = ?

There is a third way. Jesus established an entire kingdom based on this other way. It has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with the use of force. Jesus had authority over everything and displayed to those who would follow his way what we should do with authority and power.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13

As a follower of Jesus, this is my answer to all the violence, death, hatred, evil, murder, genocide, homicide, rape, sex trafficking, slavery, abuse, and even the Christian hypocrisy so prevalent in the church:

Serve, with self-sacrificial love, those who are about to turn you over to be killed.

Somehow, this releases a mystical force upon the earth. A force not to change horrible situations like the one in Sandy Hook, but to change people. Maybe if enough people are filled with God we will stop shooting ourselves. I have seen people change. This is my hope. This is the hope I cling to as I prepare to welcome my child into this world.

A part of me is scared for my child to enter into a world full of evil. Another part of me is excited to see my child become an evil-hunter, removing the evil in men by expressing self-sacrificial, foot-washing love to them. Young one, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. See the original blueprint of the “bad guy’s” value and worth. Remove all evil that is covering who they were created to be and work the ministry of reconciliation, not counting their sins against them.

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About Nathan Banker

Nathan, Michelle and their two sons are occupational ministers in the Twin Cities. They do spiritual mentoring, a form of prayer ministry call Prayer Resolution and help run a small church-like community called Immerse. They dream of changing the world, one person at a time.

9 responses to “CT”

  1. JD Blom says :

    Amen!

  2. Kurt says :

    Nate/ Michelle

    Very profound and from the heart, thank you for your thoughts and I agree with you.

    Love Grandpa Kurt

  3. steve says :

    That resonates with my reaction too. This tragedy shook me as well, and I too was surprised at my resolve that Jesus is the only real answer to all our pain. As you stated, the simplicity of it feels cliche, but in reality it is the only truth that matters. We mess it all up with our worldly “wisdom”. I have two girls age 6 and 5, and my resolve to instill this truth in them has never been stronger. I thank God for the Holy Spirit, and His son Jesus who gives my life meaning and hope.

  4. Pelagia Castleberry says :

    I had the same reaction to Sandy Hook, Nathan, a cry for Jesus — not just to step into the lives of those who were most closely touched by the tragedy, but for each person on this earth. He is the only solution. Ultimately it’s not about “gun control” or help for the mentally ill. it is about heart control. We need Jesus. What a great season to remember that as we celebrate His birth.

    This is not to minimize your concerns about bringing your first child into this world, but to put a bit of perspective to it: Every parent I know, of whatever generation, has had the same concerns about bringing a child into “this world”, however the world looks at that point. Your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents also likely had those concerns. When a child is joining a family, we look a little more closely at the faults in society. Instead of looking at it from the viewpoint of an adult who has been raised under the love and protection of our parents, we see it from the viewpoint of the protector. There has always been evil. The world has always been a less-than-perfect place to raise a child. Yet we step forth in hope and faith, trusting that the same God who carried parents and children through the world wars, through various catastrophes both natural and man-made, through generations of everything the world has experienced, that same God is still here, still in power, still willing to provide whatever we, as parents, cannot provide.

    You and Michelle will be great parents as you continue to depend on God to teach and guide you in raising your child.

  5. smackdabchina says :

    The question we should ask as the church is why didn’t we reach this shooter? And if we did, what could we do to help? Would he have found what he needed in the church? Or have we reached the point where this is not the church’s role anymore?

    • nathanbanker says :

      I think you are right on in “Or have we reached the point where this is not the church’s role anymore?” We want the government to do what the church should be doing and we want the church to have the power that the government should have. Everything seems to be backwards. But, there’s always a remnant. We can reach those people. We can be the church that will be able to help those people. We need to.

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