It's the nature of evil. It hides in the shadows. It whispers to unsuspecting people who are looking for answers. It deceives them. It instructs them. And eventually, it controls them.
It is a story as old as mankind. Man chooses to do evil. Mankind inflicts unimaginable horror upon mankind. Genocide, ethnic "cleansing," abuse, torture, and mass murder. When it happens we are dumbfounded. "How could something like this happen?" When a new story breaks, there is a media frenzy with commentators analyzing the facts, in an effort to help explain it to all of us. We try to make sense of it.
I supposed you could argue that insane people don't really have a choice. They don't appreciate the consequences of their decisions. But what if there were a point in all of our lives, where we made a simple choice that reset the direction of our lives?
Simple choices lead to more choices. Over time, our lives become an aggregation of those choices. A decision may seem innocuous at the time. But if you look at the big picture, the decision often boils down to good versus evil. I can choose good, or I can choose evil.
Satan is a liar. He always has been. Read the Genesis account. Whether or not you accept it as literal truth, even as metaphor, it is an incredibly accurate account of how evil works in our lives. Satan rationalizes He operates in stealth. We rationalize- "I'll just do it this one time." Or, "I deserve this." Or, "It's not that big of a deal." We act upon it. Guilt and fear take over. In the case of Adam and Eve, the original humans, it separated them from their Father.
A simple decision to do evil, especially when rationalized, may not seem like that big of a deal at the time. But once evil gets a toehold in our lives, it begins to take over. We become numb to it. Sin leads to more sin. Like a horrible cancer, it eventually consumes us.
Christians believe that evil was conquered once and for all when Jesus died on the cross. It's why He cried, "It is finished." Jesus' crucifixion paid the price for all of the sins of mankind forever. He died for my sins. He died for your sins. He died for every sinful act ever committed. We accept this payment through our faith in Him.
As a result, Satan, whether he realizes it or not, can no longer create a separation between us and God. More importantly, understanding this means that evil cannot take us over. We are forgiven. Certainly, we will sin again. However, we simply confess that sin and have the confidence that the payment has been made. We are right with God. Instead of rationalizing, we repent. It interrupts the cycle. Bad decisions don't have to lead to more bad decisions.
Evil may have visited that town in Connecticutt yesterday. But it did not prevail. God, through His Son, prevailed. He is with those grieving families. He loves them.
The gospels teach us that Jesus had a special place in his heart for little children. I believe that those 20 Connecticut children are, at this moment, with Jesus. It must be an incredible scene. They are singing and playing with the Creator of the Universe. He is bouncing one on his knee; hugging another. Everything is absolutely right with these children. They are the recipients of a love beyond anything that even the most loving parents could give. It defies description.
He loves you that same way.