There was a school shooting a few days ago at La Loche, a small community in northern Saskatchewan. A teenager who had been relentlessly bullied took a gun and killed two people in their home and then went to school, killed two more and wounded a number of others.
It appears that the young man felt pushed to the point of desperation. That does not make him innocent; it just means that there is a good deal of blame to go around to others in the community who participated in the bullying, or who were aware of the bullying and did nothing to stop it.
After a tragedy like this there are many proposals as to how to deal with the aftermath and what to do to prevent a repeat. Many of them involve more psychological counselling and the spending of large amounts of money.
These things might do some good, but they really don’t get to the root of the problem, which is a lack of respect for one another. Bullying seeks to ridicule, demean and intimidate another person. Such words and actions should never be trivialized by calling them teasing.
One of the first things we read in the Bible is that we are created in the image of God. That applies to all human beings, regardless of ethnic or national origin,or social or economic status. Therefore to belittle another human being, made in the image of God, is an act of defiance against God.
Humanists and atheists claim that they have a better way to instill in people a respect for others. Does anyone think that is really working? If so, why are there so many tragic incidents like the one at La Loche? Why are there so many suicides? Why is there so much violence against women?
It is true that Christians, and people who call themselves Christians, have at times been guilty of words and actions that indicate disrespect for others. That is why we must begin with ourselves to establish a foundation for a truly Biblical worldview to guide our relations with others. The next step is to be able to communicate this to others – not in terms of “the Bible says,” but “this is what works, and it works because God made us, understands us and has given us workable instructions for life.”
We need to be convinced of the value of our Bible-based faith and learn how to share it with others. When tragedies occur it will not do to point fingers, find somebody to blame, and pat ourselves on the back because we are not like that. Might it even be true that we bear a portion of the blame because we have not fulfilled our calling to be ambassadors for Christ, calling the world around us to be reconciled to God?