Two Takeaways from the Las Vegas Massacre
On Sunday night, the deadliest mass shooting by a single individual in US history was perpetrated. We still have a lot of questions. Why did this happen? Does the shooter have any affiliations? How can we prevent a scenario like this from recurring?
While we may still have questions, there a few takeaways that we do know. The massacre forces us to remember some unpleasant truths – truths that we will be wise to ponder and foolish to overlook.
Evil is not tied to any particular ideology or religious affiliation
Authorities still do not know of any particular ideology or religious affiliation of the shooter. As far as we know, his shooting was not tied to a particular religious or political agenda. Many people thought of him as a normal guy who lived a relatively normal life.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus explained that evil is not something that comes into a person, but something that comes out of them. The religious authorities in Jesus’ day said that eating certain foods could defile a person. Jesus responded that this is not what defiles a person. Rather, defilement and evil come from inside a person’s heart and are expressed in their actions.
The shooter’s heinous evil didn’t come because he was part of a group or organization. It already existed in him. Even if he is eventually linked to a particular ideology or religious group, we need to remember: evil is not implanted by these groups. It comes from within the human heart.
Death is unpredictable and may strike at any time
Sudden death is a tragedy, and we mourn the lives that were lost in the massacre. At the same time, this is a reminder that death doesn’t ‘wait’ until we want it to appear. It is unpredictable, and it can strike anyone, anywhere.
In another sense, death is the most predictable event that humans face. Sooner or later, it will strike everyone. Centuries ago, death was an acknowledged part of the human experience. Memento Mori was the practice of remembering one’s mortality. Memento Mori even influenced art, providing visual reminders of the brevity of life. It was not intended to discourage people, but to encourage them to make the most of life and to prepare for death.
Today, as a society, we try not to acknowledge death. We cover death up, hiding it, pretending that it doesn’t happen. Of course, we can’t do that when a massacre like this happens. Rather than ignoring the reality of death, a wise person will prepare for it. It has a 100% probability of occurring.
While there are many books that claim to describe heaven or hell, the Bible is a book that has been tested by generations. The Bible has profound wisdom for daily life. It also explains the way to prepare for death. In short, you prepare for death by denying yourself, confessing your sins, surrendering to God, and believing in Jesus. In the process, you gain peace with yourself, your neighbor, and your God.