December 21, 2012

What Does Newtown Teach Us about Ourselves?

by George Lawson

When you looked into the mirror this morning, who did you see? Certainly not a cold-blooded killer…right? Maybe you should look again.Looking into the Mirror.

Just yesterday, I struck up a conversation with a couple that I sat next to, on a flight home to Baltimore. Eventually the discussion moved to the evil that struck Newtown, CT. “I’m no health professional” the husband said, “but something must have been fundamentally wrong, for someone to do that.”

“There is”, I replied, “and it’s the same thing that is fundamentally wrong with all of us. It’s sin.”

Adam LanzaMy heart is filled with grief for the parents, siblings, extended family and friends of the fallen in Newtown. As a father of three children of my own, I can’t imagine the depth of pain experienced, by those who told their children goodbye for the last time.  If there was ever a time to reject the fairy-tale, that people are basically good, I think now would be a good time.

I’m not trying to suggest that it has ever crossed your mind, to commit the kind of atrocity we saw in Newtown, but…

  • Do you suppose that Adam Lanza was a greater sinner than all other Americans (Luke 13:2)?
  • Do you think that the anger he possessed, was a unique category of sin, that none of us have ever experienced, in some form, in our own hearts (Matthew 15:18; 1 John 3:15)?
  • Do you believe that something was fundamentally wrong with the 20-year-old, responsible for the second deadliest school shooting in United States history, that is not also fundamentally wrong with all of us (Romans 3:10, 23)?

Sandy Hook bwAs humans, we are capable of some of the most heinous sins imaginable, even without being considered psychologically unstable. How else do you explain Nazi Germany, the Rwandan genocide or the crimes against humanity in Darfur? How else do you explain the killing of innocent children in Egypt (Exodus 1:22), in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16) or in today’s practice of abortion? Let’s not kid ourselves, into thinking that the explanation has to be found in some complex psychological analysis. We really have to look no further than our own hearts. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19). If it were not for the restraining grace of God, we would have innumerable Sandy Hook’s to deal with.

There is something fundamentally wrong with all of us, and the only words that can adequately describe our predicament are biblical words like “evil, wickedness, and sin”. Once we acknowledge that our problem is biblically defined, we can embrace the joy that our solution is biblically determined. There is only one remedy for sin and it’s a person– Jesus Christ! Only those who agree with the scriptural diagnosis of their condition, can receive the scriptural cure of salvation. “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9:12).Pray for Sandy Hook

Who did you see in the mirror this morning? I saw a potential cold-blooded killer, rescued by the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ.

Let’s keep those grieving in Newtown, CT in our prayers, as well as men like Pastors Joey Newton and Parker Reardon. If you want to see an example of the wise application of biblical truth, see MSNBC’s interview with Joey (here).

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

George Lawson


George is a graduate of The Master's Seminary and is the Pastor-Teacher of Baltimore Bible Church, a new church plant in Baltimore, MD (
  • As for the questions, I must answer that yes, he is a greater sinner than me or anyone I know.

    • outreaching

      I fully agree, that I know of no one’s expression of wickedness that comes close to the degree that we’ve seen in Newtown. As a father myself, my heart agonizes with the rest of our nation, but unless we can admit that we also have the same fundamental problem of sin, we will never experience the joy of salvation. It’s painful to see what the sinful human heart is capable of. But for the grace of God …

  • outreaching

    The question for us is, was our prayer “Lord, thank you that I am not like Adam Lanza” (Luke 18:11) or “Lord, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13)?

    • So wonderfully encapsulized, George. I don’t know if the very heart of the matter could be put more succinctly than that.

      Thanks for your ministry to us.

      • outreaching

        As I am grateful for your ministry as well. Thanks Mike

  • The incident at Sandy Hook echoed what is wrong with our world – Sin. The greatest killer is not heart failure or cancer. It is Sin. Lord help us hold onto you so we can let go of sin. Amen