Mass shootings have become an all-too-common occurrence in our world. From concerts to schools to places of worship, these tragic events leave us shaken and scrambling for answers. As Christians, we should look to the Bible for guidance on how to respond to such violence.
First, we must remember that our hope is in God (Psalm 39:7). In times of tragedy, despair, and angst, it can be easy to lose sight of this. We may even question how a good and loving God could allow such evil to occur. However, God is not responsible for the presence of evil in the world (1 John 1:5). We are (Genesis 3:1–7; Romans 5:12). Yet God takes the evil that we do and uses it for His glory (Romans 8:28). Even in the darkest times, God is always in control. Therefore, we can place our trust in Him.
Psalm 46:1–3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (ESV). This passage reminds us that, even when our world seems to be falling apart, God is always with us, and we can take refuge in Him (cf. Psalm 23:4). May we turn to Him in prayer and seek comfort in His presence.
Second, we should show compassion to those affected by mass shootings (Matthew 22:34–40). Showing compassion to others is one of the ways to love our neighbors as ourselves. We could donate money or resources to organizations who assist victims and their families, volunteer at a local community center, or simply be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on for someone who is grieving. Whatever we choose, we should be the first to show compassion and kindness to others during times of tragedy.
Third, we should pray for those who commit heinous crimes. This may seem counterintuitive, but, as Christians, we believe in the power of prayer and the ability of God to change hearts and minds (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3, 5).
In Matthew 5:43–44 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Although it may be difficult to love those who commit heinous crimes, we are commanded to do it anyway. In loving our enemies, we become a light amidst the darkness of the world (Matthew 5:16).
Finally, we should work toward preventing future mass shootings. This means advocating for sensible laws, supporting mental health initiatives, shoring up defenses around likely targets, and promoting a culture of nonviolence.
Proverbs 24:11–12 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” This passage reminds us that we have a responsibility to speak out against injustice in all forms. If we sit back and do nothing, then we have blood on our hands (cf. Ezekiel 3:18).
Mass shootings are an unfortunate reality of our world. As Christians, we must respond with love, compassion, and action. We must seek God for comfort and guidance, show support to those affected by mass shootings, pray for the salvation of those who commit heinous crimes, and work toward preventing these tragedies in the future.
While we may never fully understand why tragedies such as mass shootings occur, we can take solace in the promise of Revelation 21:4, which says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” One day, all pain, suffering, and evil will come to an end, and believers will be united with their heavenly Father.