Colorado Shooting Offers Lessons for Living

Friday’s early morning Colorado shooting spree in a  movie theater left 12 dead, 58 wounded, and a nation stunned and mourning. More questions than answers arise from such tragedies, yet as I processed the news, three thoughts came to mind.

Be careful:

The late J. Vernon McGee called sin a crooked line. If you ask a room full of people to draw a straight line, you know how that line will look. Some will be horizontal, others diagonal or vertical. Some long, some short. Despite these differences you know how a straight line looks.

If you ask the same group to draw a crooked line, you will have as many shapes as people.

Once someone starts down the twisted path of sin, they don’t know how it will distort and pervert their life. Proverbs 4:23, ( NCV) warns, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Romans 1:18-32 traces the ever increasing perversion of sin and God granting people their choices. “… So God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”

How tragic that James Eagen Holmes, a brilliant student, would become a mass murderer. While most people don’t turn into killers, sin still deforms its victims.

Lesson: Unchecked thoughts become actions. Actions become destiny.

Be ready:

I want to believe I can protect myself from pain, but misfortune is not a respecter of people. After some tragedies had shaken the people in Jesus’ day, He addressed their thoughts. “Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” Luke 13:4-5, NIV.

Whether it enters as a masked assassin, drunk driver, or illness, calamity affects the innocent as well as the erring. Because life is uncertain, tragedy reminds us to not postpone our relationship with God. Just as those in the movie theater didn’t expect an appointment with death, neither do we know our appointed time. “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV), those best equipped to live are those most ready to die.

Lesson: Being right with God doesn’t insulate me from injury, but it ensures my eternal well-being.

Be comforted:

Finally, Isaiah writes: “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil,” (Isaiah 57:1 NIV).

The godly who died are taken away to heaven. We may be separated for a few decades, but Christians carry the hope of an eternal reunion. If God allows untimely death, it is to spare His children from future evil.

Lesson: I can trust God in tragedy.

Our hearts go out to those affected by this unspeakable horror. May God wrap the families in His love and presence and use this senseless loss to grant us the good sense of eternity.



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  1. Teresa Hamby

    This was a timely message in so many ways. Mike just lost his mother and your thoughts and the Scriptures were of great comfort.
    I do want to continue receiving your emails. So please keep me on your list.
    Teresa Hamby

    • Debbie

      Teresa, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. May you know the Lord’s comfort.

      Concerning receiving the emails, look for an email confirmation. You must click it to activate your account.

      For those who want to subscribe, please enter your email in the subscribe box in upper right part of the page. Or if you email me I will do it. You will receive an email you must click to confirm that is what you want.

  2. Karen Zilen

    Hi Debbie,

    Thank you for using your gift of writing to articulate so well in so few words the essence of this tragedy.
    Yet the separation from precious loved ones is painful as you know. As the 6th anniversary of the death of my one and only sister approaches, I still immensely miss having her in my life, especially now that we have moved back to the States from living abroad.

    Like you, my heart and prayers go out to the families experiencing ‘separations’ for now. And may this time be used to prepare for the ‘Reunions’ to come.


    • Debbie

      Karen, I do know separation is painful, and I am so sorry for your loss. I know you miss your sister so much. I lost my mother over 40 years ago and I still have times I miss her. But one day I’ll be with her for millions and millions of years with no more death or separation. That is a great hope indeed.

  3. Diane

    Dearest Debbie you are wise indeed! I love you!

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