Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
More often than not, after an individual commits an especially heinous crime, the media goes out and interviews people who appeared to be close to the bad-deed doer. If you listen to the video clips, you will usually hear things like
* "He was a loner."
* "Everybody thought he was strange, but nobody ever thought he was capable of this."
* "When I knew him, he wasn't all that bad."
* "I didn't know him. I don't know anybody who really knew him."
Family members who are willing to appear before the cameras usually say one of two things:
1. "We are shocked and grieve for all who were hurt in this tragedy. We are truly sorry."
2. "He had always been a good boy. We are just as shocked as you."
Now I know, in writing the above paragraphs, I am speaking in generalities, and generalities don't always apply to everybody. They certainly don't apply to the grandmother of 18-year-old Joshua O'Connor of Everett, Washington.
Grandma apparently got a look at her grandson's journal and was shocked at what she saw. In his writings he spoke of wanting to become "infamous" by shooting fellow members of ACES High School and running up the "biggest fatality number I possibly can." Joshua gave grandma a look into his heart when he confessed to reviewing other mass shooters so that he could learn "from past shooters'/bombers' mistakes."
Well, grandma had a choice. She could talk herself into believing these were the foolish fantasies of her grandson which would never happen or she could turn her grandson into the authorities.
Grandma chose the second course of action and turned Joshua in.
He was arrested at school. In his possession was a knife and some marijuana. A search of his home turned up a hidden semi-automatic rifle and some hand grenades. Reviewing the events, a spokesperson for the school district said, "It really speaks to the (importance) of if you see something or hear something to notify authorities. That's what she did. It could well have saved many, many lives, including her grandson's life."
Friends, for over 50 years, America has tried a grand experiment in which we wanted to find out what things would be like if the Lord was banned from the classroom. Now we know. We have created troubled individuals who strive to be the meanest, the deadliest, the cruelest. We have given the young the technology to become cyber-bullies and drive their classmates to suicide.
And we also have a world where those young people with the light of Christ in their hearts will stand out like a beacon that witnesses to the Savior's love and sacrifice. As part of the family of Christ, we need to decide which of these two groups will grow and flourish. God grant that we -- like the grandmother of Joshua -- will do the right thing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "The old evil foe now means deadly woe." Those words are just as true today as when they were written. Grant that we may do all we can do share the Savior's sacrifice and goodness with those who come after us. This we ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by the Christian Headlines by Veronica Neffinger on February 16, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/potential-school-shooting-is-averted-after-suspect-s-grandmother-calls-911.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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