Exactly one year ago we turned on our televisions and saw the horror happening at Virginia Tech. A shooting rampage taking 32 innocent lives before the shooter took his own.

It’s important we remember what happened this day, and as Christians to reflect on what it does to our faith, to ask the question, “Why did it have to happen?”

It is appropriate to take a moment this day to remember the victims and their families who will find it a struggle to make it through the day today. But it is also appropriate to reflect on what is happening in the world around us.

There is another victim from that day, who will be remembered very differently. The unknown victim is the shooter himself. He fits into the popular profile of many of the shooters we have seen in the last decade. A loner, quiet, a little odd, different. These characteristics are examples of reasons we don’t associate with people. Reasons we use to alienate others, to insulate ourselves in our own safe little world. A world where we can be comfortable and feel safe. How offended or uneasy we are when those we alienate find their way into our safe little cocoon.

Saul was a notorious persecutor of the early church. Yet Jesus comes to him and transforms his life. The early church has no idea what has happened. What is Saul up to? They have every reason to shun him, to keep away from him. Afterall, he has jailed and even killed many of their fellow Christians. But what do they do? They reach out to him. He is baptized, he lives with them, and he learns and grows with them.

We too have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. We too have the opportunity to see places where God’s love MUST be shown, just as He shows it to us each and every day. We are to love our neighbours, even if those neighbours are people everyone else pushes away and ignores because they’re different, just like the shooter at Virginia Tech. A young man who lashed out in hatred for all those who pushed him away, pushing him to the point where he felt he had no other course of action but the one he chose.

So, on this solemn anniversary, let us remember those who lost their lives in a very tragic way. But also let us remember how much God loves us. Each and every one of us. Let us share and show that love with all of God’s people. You never know who’s life you may change.

The answer to the question “Why did it have to happen?” could be… “Maybe it didn’t have to.”

Article cross posted to CrossDotNet