This morning I had a question sent to me by an old friend on Facebook. She asked, “So let me get your spiritual advice. When you kill your mother so badly she was hard to identify and you slaughter 20 innocent children, do you burn in hell immediately without passing GO and collecting 200.00 or do you get Gods grace and forgiveness?? Un-fucking believable???”
Here was my response:
Situations like these are tough for survivors, and my heart goes out to everyone touched by this senseless tragedy. But here’s the honest answer to your question.
The fact is that God sees that sick shooter as much a victim as the kids who were killed. From God’s perspective, that shooter was lost and in torment… separated from God by a sick mind. And so there is of course nothing but love for the shooter from God, even in the wake of this horrible tragedy.
Now… I know your mind wants to reject that thought. But just take a second as a parent… to imagine if one of your own kids went psycho and killed a bunch of school kids, then went on to commit suicide. Would you simply stop loving your child or the memory of your child because she was sick and that sickness caused her (my friend has daughters) to make a grievous error?
It is clear that you would certainly feel compassion for your child’s victims, and your heart would be broken that one of your kids caused all that pain for others, but all that wouldn’t mean you would automatically stop loving your child because of her sickness and her mistake, right? I mean… there would certainly be a lot of conflicting emotions flying around within you, but a sustained love for your sick child would still probably be one of them. It’s your child, after all, and she was by herself also a victim, right?
So now… take every one of those ugly conflicting emotions and toss them out, except for the love you feel for everyone involved, including the victim who was the shooter. God doesn’t have a limited mind so as to feel anger, resentment, worry, regret, etc. With God it’s all love. And so now take that love you could feel for your sick daughter and multiply it times a million or more. That’s how much God loves that shooter right along with everyone else who was a victim, and all who were left behind. I know it’s hard to understand, but unconditional love is weird that way. There are no conditions on it. Just like there are no conditions on the love you feel for your daughters.
We of course would like to think that any God we associate ourselves with would think like we do… that God would be angry, and vengeful, and would want to send that shooter straight to Hell… but the simple fact is that’s not the case. We humans are the only ones with the limited minds who choose to love some victims (the kids) and hate the other victims (the shooter). We are the only ones who create separation in our minds to others who are not “us”. God doesn’t have that flaw or limitation. There is no “other” regarding God. There is no one who is not a child, or undeserving of love. Only some who are lost.
And so all we can do as imperfect humans is offer what love and compassion we can muster to the people who we can acknowledge as the victims of this awful mess… the families of the kids and adults who died. As for me… I’m praying for the shooter and the family of the shooter as well.
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