Today hundreds of thousands of students across the globe are protesting gun violence. The motivation behind these protests is understandable and compelling. There is a growing, realistic fear that their school could be the next target. To date, despite impassioned political rhetoric, there is no appearance of protection for our students. So in this sense the need for action and protest seems clear and obvious. It is more than unsettling to walk out the door to go to school, wondering if you may never come back home again.
The deeper sadness is that our nation’s political and educational systems have driven our children to trusting solutions based on laws to heal and stop the wreckage caused by human sin. The darkness of the heart has cast its shadow over the landscape of our schools and our nation. Appealing to politicians to create laws that will control the darkness of the heart is a tragic miscalculation. Eliminating access to guns to stop violence is not a solution just as the government’s attempt to stop the devastation of drunkenness by the prohibition of alcohol was not a solution. The problem isn’t primarily alcohol or guns, the problem is the human heart of darkness.
A common theme of the student protestors is changing laws so that what happened at Parkland will never happen again. This is a vain hope. Our children have come to believe that if they go to the elected officials and they pass the right laws gun violence can be banished, #neveragain. Hashtags notwithstanding, there is no law to conquer a dark heart.
The psalmist warns:
Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
In 1944, when the nation also faced seemingly unstoppable evil, President Roosevelt called out to God in prayer to bless us and protect us. The time has come to call out for God’s protection again. Only in God is found true safety.
The only rescue from the heart of darkness is the light of the gospel.