So many hearts are heavy  and feeling the impact of yet another terrible school shooting. Carmen LaBerge says the collective heartache we feel after such a loss tends to make us rush toward two extremes.

“We grieve and weep and are in physical pain for the families of the 17 who lost their lives, and others who remain hospitalized and injured. We also pray for the thousands of people who will be traumatized by this.”

“I think of the post-traumatic stress that this will reignite in the hearts and lives of everyone in Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and so on. We as a nation are all experiencing this at a gut-level, and our reactions tend to be either to politicize or spiritualize. I would say, in this moment, we need to guard against running into either of those two directions and instead sit with the reality we’re at in our culture.”

The desire to act, to “do something” is important.

“Everybody wants to do something; I think we ought to not let that energy just pass us by….Who is that kid who’s hopeless, desperate, suicidal or homicidal? Who has unfettered access to lethal means? Who doesn’t have a family? Who has aged out of the system that’s supposed to help them? Who feels totally alone in the world? Then we, as Christians, need to refuse to allow them to be isolated.”

Carmen draws on the Biblical picture of a demon-possessed man (Mark 5) who had been turned out of his community in such a way that he not only did harm to himself, but to anyone who came near him.

“It’s totally totally counter-intuitive, but we have to walk toward those kids who are struggling. As Christians, we recognize that this world is not all there is, and we have to be the people who are brave enough to actually walk toward people who are desperate, hopeless and isolated and offer them the only hope that exists, which is in Jesus Christ.”

“I’m not offering that as a “spiritual palliative.” I’m offering the name of Jesus Christ as the only thing we have. There’s not enough silver and gold to fix this issue. We can’t create enough programs, build enough institutions, hospitals for the criminally insane–we can’t do it. Sin is not solved that way. The sin problem is solved by Jesus Christ, and the people of Jesus are going to have to walk into a culture of death with the words of life.”

Carmen LaBerge is a writer, speaker, member of the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. She will begin hosting Connecting Faith on Faith Radio in March. She is author of Speak the Truth: How to Bring God Back into Every Conversation.

Praying (and acting) after Florida shooting