If you’re like me, you’re feeling disturbed and upset by the onslaught of some really bad news. The school shooting in Texas is horrific.

UVALDE, TX – MAY 24: Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was reportedly killed by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

Six days ago my first granddaughter was born and another is on the way. What kind of world are they coming into?  On top of that, I just watched the Hillsong documentary. Need I say more? I also read the Guidepost Solutions full report on their investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention sex abuse cover-up. https://www.sataskforce.net/updates/guidepost-solutions-report-of-the-independent-investigation  (please read this if you are a church leader). The news of today is enough to instill mistrust and fear in all of us. When will it end? What do we do? Perhaps you also feel the heaviness, but rather than despair, you are reaching for hope. How are we to respond? I want to respond in ways that are constructive, not placating. I want to do something that is transformational, not merely absolving.

In times like this, I feel helpless. These are big issues that are far beyond my control. Yet I also know that there are proactive things that I can do. Here are a few:

1. Acknowledge the fact that there is real evil in this world, and it needs to be addressed in the very fabric of our lives, in every culture, and in every institution. We cannot be passive. We must be proactive. Ignoring it is not a solution. Denial is not an option. We understand that we live in a fallen and sinful world that desperately needs salvation.
2. We must be humble, and teachable. These issues are not a distant problem. They are close at hand. If you have been alive long, you have had to deal with sexual abuse or misconduct at some level (families, staff, volunteers, etc.), and chances are, in retrospect, you would handle things differently today. Now is the time to experience a personal reformation as it pertains to healthy boundaries, safety, and accountability, wherever you have influence.
3. I must keep on trusting the Lord. Thankfully, there is not only “real evil” in our world, but there is a “real good” that is far greater and more powerful than the evil that we see. The light will overcome the darkness. John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” How can you and I be different? What can you do to be a safe person? How can you be an advocate for victims instead of a defense for the causes of victimization?

I encourage you to go beyond posting on social media, whether it be a call for gun reform, or decrying hypocrisy. Don’t merely vent to appease your own conscience or to deflect away from your own personal struggle. Instead, may we own our own brokenness. If you have been victimized, may you empathetically become an advocate for change. May we create safety and accountability within our own circles of influence. May we proactively and prayerfully apply the recommendations, reforms, and lessons that are obvious from every one of these situations. 

Let’s not wait for another tragedy, crisis, or scandal. In every situation, there are proactive steps to be applied based on the lessons learned.