Another mass shooting? More innocent children and their teachers dying? Another mentally unstable adult with an assault rifle taking out their unhealed wounds on society and then themselves?
Mass Shooting – The New Normal?
With Wednesday’s mass shooting, we are reminded that violence against the innocent has reached epic proportions, and yet what is sadly true is that this has now become the “new normal.” Even my own children who are loving, caring, compassionate and peaceful young adults simply shrug their shoulders in response. Yep, it is an everyday occurrence. For our children, if it isn’t mass shootings it is their peers committing suicide. Kids are dying. From the perspective of our children, since nothing is being done about it, then apparently nobody cares. As children they have no power over how the outside world responds to tragedy, so they are choosing the only response they can (in order to not lose it themselves) – which is to normalize – or rather, to shrug it off as just another example of how they are the victims in a broken world and how they are powerless to do anything about it. This deeply saddens me. What exactly has our world come to if teenage suicide and mass shootings are normal and when resignation is our only response?
But is it? Of course not! But, what our children are realizing is the truth of the very deep societal sin of sloth.
Sloth is refusing the use the brain we have been given to reason, discern and exercise truth.
Instead of recognizing the violence our culture has relaxed into and doing something to change it, we look the other way. We ignore it, shrug or brush it off or project by laying blame on the mental health of the shooter or the students who “didn’t report the problem.” UGH! All of these responses are classic examples of sloth. It is so much easier to look away because if we really SAW what was happening, we would HAVE to do something about it. Sloth allows us to escape responsibility. It’s not our problem if we refuse to see it and if we do see it, we know that working to change the system might mean (will definitely mean) changing something about ourselves. Denial and avoidance are other faces of sloth. A classic example of sloth that might be a little closer to home is the spouse who denies their partner’s alcoholism, or the fact that they are being emotionally abused. If we don’t see it, we don’t have to do anything about it.
Taught to Look the Other Way
Sadly, sloth is how we are conditioned to behave. This pattern of sloth begins at home in platitudes like, “Speak only when you are spoken to.” “Don’t make waves.” “You’re too young to know what is good for you.” Sloth teaches us that there is an outside perceived authority who is in charge and who knows better than we do what is good for us. Sloth also teaches us that it is our job to make the outside perceived authority happy and that in order to gain their acceptance (whether that authority be our parents, teachers, pastor, church, peers, or God “himself”) we must obey them. Sloth teaches us that they are right and we are wrong and not to trust our own truth. Western culture (American culture especially) has established itself on a model of fear, power and control where the masses are expected to be obedient to those in (perceived) positions of power – the outside perceived authority.
When tragedy strikes, we have been trained to look the other way. To act differently alters the entire scope of Western Society. More than anything we want to be loved and we know that the very real consequence of seeing and speaking our truth is the withdrawal of that love. No wonder when mass shootings happen we look the other way.
Choosing Another Response
The good news is that we do not need to continue to act in this way. Instead, we can gather our courage around us and begin to do the difficult work (which isn’t all that difficult once we get started) of OPENING OUR EYES. We were given a mind to reason, and discern truth. We have the power to see what is wrong in our world. With this, we have also been given the power to change it.
Read Wednesday’s blog, School Shootings – Had Enough Yet? for instructions on how to make that change.
Authentic Freedom Academy provides programs and services which empower us to use the gifts we were given to reason, discern and exercise our truth. Learn more HERE.