A letter to my grandchildren
December 22, 2012 · Updated 11:40 AM
A few days ago, a terrible tragedy took place in Newtown, Conn. I was overwhelmed with sadness and my heart broke for every family who was touched by this unthinkable act of violence.
I also thought of you. I thought of how much life you have ahead of you and I wished there were a way to protect you, and all other children, from such evil.
As our country struggles to understand all that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, many are asking, “How could a loving God let such a horrible thing like this happen?” I believe the answer to this question is the one thing that can truly bring hope in the midst of this tragedy.
At Christmas, we are reminded of a very special gift that God gave us by sending his only son to this world to be our savior. It was not, however, the first gift he gave to us. The first gift was incredibly powerful. That gift was our “free will,” the ability to choose our own way. It’s the ability to choose God and his ways or to reject him and go on our own.
With our free will, we make thousands of choices every day. Some are good decisions, leading to good both in our lives and those around us. Some are poor choices and lead to pain. Regardless of good or bad, they are our choices to make.
With his free will, Adam Lanza chose to do an incredibly evil thing. It was not God’s will or God’s plan for Adam to do what he did. But God does not take away his gifts from people, even when they choose to use those gifts in evil ways. He also does not take away the consequences of our choices, and this past week’s events are a bitter reminder that our choices often impact many people.
The world is full of both good and evil. The good things and the bad things happen, not because God is making them happen, but because of the choices we all make with his gift of our free will. My hope and prayer for you today is that you will be able to gain some valuable lessons through this catastrophe.
Do not let fear steal your peace through this isolated act of evil. Millions of acts of kindness have taken place because of this one act of wickedness. Do not let yourself become full of anger by focusing on one person’s bad choices. Focus on the good and what you can do to make your world a better and safer place.
Remember the most precious gift you have this Christmas is the gift of your free will.
Determine to use that gift to choose God and his ways and make your world a better place.
Steve Jensen, Auburn