On Outcry and Protest

Today has seen an outpouring of sadness and of prayer for the people of Newtown CT. And so it should be. The unimaginable horror, the loss of innocent lives defy understanding. But in the midst of such outpourings are those (including myself) who cry out “Why?”

Events such as the killings in Newtown challenge many of our spiritual beliefs in a loving God. True, that loving God can be found among the grieving of Newtown, comforting them. But some are still wracked with the question: “How can a loving God permit such things, especially where innocent children are involved?” I have no answer.

Sadly, though, this anguished time will pass and many of us will settle back into our own lives, resigning ourselves to a certain desperate powerlessness. What if anything can I do about such darkness?

As I look within myself, I can see value in writing to my congressman to encourage gun control. But perhaps this tragedy challenges us all to look deeper into our own attitudes about and condoning of violence.

It seems to me that His message of nonviolence is one of many aspects of Jesus’ words that we choose to ignore. How often do we indeed turn the other cheek? How often do I indeed attempt to love my enemy? How often instead do I lash back, arming myself “just in case”?

Perhaps I can honor these lost little ones by trying to embrace a peaceful lifestyle. And perhaps I can honor them by trying to in general be a more loving person, including being loving towards myself.

Indeed what I can do to help the people of Newton is limited. But perhaps I can do something meaningful by trying to heal my own inner violence. As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth/And let it begin with me.”

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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3 Responses to On Outcry and Protest

  1. Rose Mathews says:

    My thoughts also, Rich – How can a loving God allow this? Don’t have an answer either. Right now all I know is that these little children are in heaven – no limbo, no purgatory for them. All I can do now is pray for their parents, grandparents, and those who loved them. The anguish they are feeling right now is beyond description. I will soak them in my prayers and, yes, Rich, may peace begin with me.


  2. John Stroik says:

    Thank you for your comments. I agree, Rich, that you and I need to heal our inner violence with prayer as a beginning. We can then be able to do something, like writing to our congressmen.

    Apropos of gun control, Nicholas D. Kristof wrote, this past Sunday, that Australia banned automatic long guns and established other rules to control guns 14 years ago, after a mass shooting of 35 people. Consequently, they have had no mass shootings and reduced the murder rate with guns by 40 percent, and the suicide rate by guns by almost 50 percent. Most other countries that have controlled gun policies have extremely lower murder rates.

    In addition, I note that Henri Nouwen wrote “The powers of darkness rule the world. We should not be surprised when we see human suffering and pain all around us. But we should be surprised by joy every time we see that God, not the evil one, has the last word.”

    John Stroik

  3. Michele says:

    Hi Rich,

    We can not fully understand why God allows evil to exist and the murder of innocent people is definitely evil. There are many ideas going around by people trying to find an answer but I have to disagree with the argument for gun control. Criminals will ignore it anyway and for every example of where gun control has had positive outcomes, history and other examples contradict it (one example is the testimony from Dr. Susan Gratia via link below).

    If I were, however, able to impact our government, I would ask them to: require all schools to teach morals and the value of human life; give faith a fighting chance in our schools by teaching the benefits of spirituality and inform children of the major faiths in the world so that they at least have the option to choose faith; protect our schools like we protect our planes; remove the stigma from mental health care so that children and adults (including our military) are supported and encouraged to get counseling as a matter of course and not just after a crisis; and help to build families by changing policies that pull families apart (e.g. govt aid that discourages fathers to be in the home, parents in the military pulled away for lengthy absences, etc.).

    And finally, I completely agree with you that peace begins with us. We can change the world by changing ourselves.


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