January 17, 1990
The funerals are over and the story is off the front page. Classes will soon resume if they haven’t already; but the University of Montreal is not the same. Grief hangs there, a cloud over students and faculty who were on campus December 6th. The shooting spree that took 14 lives is a dark cloud indeed.
Yet there is another cloud lingering. It is that bitter argument regarding who is to blame. There are some, both men and women, who still insist this incident is proof the other gender is at fault for almost everything.
Some news stories said the killer expressed wrath against some women, implying they were responsible for his misfortunes. Yet those 14 women didn’t personally do anything to him. They likely would still be alive had he not appeared on campus that day.
Another story shifted the focus to the killer’s father, who apparently hated women and neglected his son. Was he (or the women he hated) to blame? They didn’t pull the trigger.
The men who left the classroom at the gunman’s request expressed feelings of guilt as they later considered how they could have intervened and maybe changed the outcome. Yet none of them killed these girls.
Some have suggested that the entire feminist movement is at fault for putting pressure on men, that women ought to take serious consideration of this kind of violence as a consequence of their demands. But those of that persuasion didn’t pull the trigger either.
And as each story aims responsibility to different targets, the flames are fanned in the battle between the sexes. Even a few attempts to avoid making this not a man/woman issue have not succeeded. But what is the real issue? What does God say about it?
Jesus once accused a certain group, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning...”
Sounds like Jesus was in a prison speaking to a group of murderers; but He wasn’t. His audience was the most religious people of His time, people who self-righteously thought they were the children of God! However, Jesus called them sons of Satan, killers, just as the devil himself is a killer.
If His statement to them is shocking, I for one am even more shocked by my own capacity to hate. Maybe you are too. Most of us, at one time or another, secretly or openly, have wished someone we didn’t like would breathe their last. Oh, not everyone carries out these desires. Most of us have had a “decent upbringing” or are afraid of being caught. Nonetheless, that hate can be there -- forming the root for murder.
Jesus isn’t shocked by our hate. He knows what’s in us. And He knows it isn’t there because I’m a woman or someone else is a man. It’s there because everyone has turned from what God intended. Instead of creatures reflecting His image, we “have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That is the real reason we hate and commit murder.
Blaming the other gender (or the devil) for the problems between us doesn’t solve the problem either. Adam and Eve tried it; their finger pointing didn’t wash with God. He holds each responsible for ourselves. Because we are, the man who killed those students will have to answer to his Creator for what he has done. He won’t be able to blame his father, his circumstances, or women, for his actions. He did them. They didn’t.
However, never forget that his father will also stand before God and answer for what he did (or didn’t do that he should have). He may not have pulled the trigger but he is responsible for his own set of sins. So is everyone else, regardless of gender.
Pointing fingers never reverses blame... unless of course our appeal is to point, in faith, to Christ. He took our guilt to the cross and died in our place, making it possible to stand before Him... blameless!