Words by Scott Axtmann
This is an old picture of me from the early 70’s apparently shooting a little girl. What is so sinister about the picture is that my friend seems to be smiling as he drags her along. I’m sure we were just playing innocently but it kind of bothers me that I even played like that.
The very idea of a kid killing another kid is an unthinkable and horrible thing but this is exactly what happened recently in Florida as a young man opened fire in a high school. I’ve seen pictures all over the news of this boy's face and he really does look like a boy. I can’t imagine that he looked much different when he was seven or eight years old. His face looks young and innocent. How could he, in such a relatively short time, become such a terror to society?
When something like this happens I struggle to process it. This recent shooting has, again, just made me shake my head and wonder what is happening on this earth? Why are these things happening? Why do kids kill kids? Why is there genocide and sex trafficking? Why are women raped? Why are children physically beaten? Why are the poor exploited? What is wrong with this world?
The last 100 years have taught us that humanity is not ascending to new heights of moral excellence. We are sick and getting sicker.
The Christian faith makes sense of this mess teaching that the planet has fallen ill and that we all have contributed to this wide scale epidemic of spiritual sickness. The world is infected by a spiritual disease the Bible calls sin that we are all born with. The reality is that it’s not getting better. The last 100 years have taught us that humanity is not ascending to new heights of moral excellence. We are sick and getting sicker.
Despite the gloomy condition of the present world the Christian faith points to the hope of a better world to come. One New Testament writer said, “all creation groans” for this complete redemption of all things. Christ came into the world to set into motion a new kingdom. The Bible ends with stunning imagery of God making all things new. God establishes a new city free from death and pain and sorrow. The disease of sin will be cured! It’s a world where kids will no longer kill kids because there will be no more hate and no more violence.
Scott grew up in Western Massachusetts and came to the faith at the age of 21. As the outcome of his transformed life, he founded and now Pastors Renaissance Church and CityLove.