Whenever there is a tragedy such as the horrific killings in Newtown, Connecticut, people want to know how a good and loving God could allow such inexplicable violence. How can God truly be worth serving if He allows murder, rape, kidnapping, depravity and abject evil to exist in our world? Is He not powerful enough to put an end to it? Is He even in control at all? These are fair questions that come out of unimaginable grief and trauma. I think it is okay and even healthy to ask these questions. But people want to do more than question God, they demand an answer. It’s here that I think too many Christians are missing the mark.
In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, I’ve heard pastors, priests, radio personalities, and various Christian celebrities state that they don’t know why God allows evil to happen in the world. One of my favorite preachers went so far as to say that no one can know why, it’s just a mystery. I believe this does a great disservice to people seeking God yet struggling to cope with the aftermath of the senseless killing of 26 people, most of them children. There is an answer to why God allows evil, though it may sound counterintuitive. The answer is love.
God knows that freewill is required in order to love and be loved. Had He not given humans freewill, we could never choose to love and serve Him. God loved us so much that He chose not to dictate that we love Him back. Instead He allowed us the ability to choose to serve Him out of our love for Him. Without freewill we could not desire to want to do His work; we could not love another except for freewill. Love is always a choice, so in order to have love in the world, there must also exist the possibility of evil.
As sinful and imperfect people, some will reject love and choose to pursue their own path. Only love leads to Jesus, so absent that, we are doomed to frustration and despair. Eventually we may fully succumb to our depraved perception and commit crimes that are beyond all rationale and understanding. Evil results when people choose to turn their back on God. Amidst the shock and horror, our only response can be forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-16, Matthew 18:21-22, Mark 11:25). We are all capable of sin and harmful acts. It is only by the grace of God that He has provided a way to escape the darkness, the filth, and the violence of our fallen world.
Jesus gave His life to cover over our sins. He provided a way of redemption to all who have rebelled against their Creator. There is no evil that cannot be forgiven by the love of Jesus. There is no sin that cannot be cleansed by the blood of Christ. Let us all pray for and mourn with the families affected by the murders in Newtown. Let us also forgive those who commit such senseless acts of violence. Above all, may we not blame God for allowing evil, but instead thank Him for the privilege of loving and serving Him.
God sees the tragedies and I believe He weeps over each and every life that is ended too soon. God is love. He always has been, and He always will be. It’s okay to be angry, but in the end we must realize that peace will only be found in Jesus and His love. Only He can provide the comfort and healing to cope with such loss. Only God and His love can deliver us from evil.