It’s really not that hard, not that Kryptic. To whatever degree one is dedicated in all loyalty in all love with God who is love, with Jesus who brings us into that love, that is just how much we become indignant with that which goes out of its way to give ourselves an excuse not to notice that love and truth. To whatever degree I’m dedicated to Jesus, that’s how much I’m disgusted by the claims that no one knows anything about the motivations of a Stephen Paddock: he’s an anomaly, it is said, someone who broke, who is crazy, who is pushed by whatever circumstances to do what he did. The last thing anyone wants to say is that someone can actually choose to embrace the lie of the “power of evil”, i.e., nihilism, sovereignty over vacuousness.
Thus, when we see Jesus on the cross because He was good and kind and unrelenting in merciful truth, we say that this is diabolical, only. But Jesus didn’t die to redeem the devil. He died to redeem us. If He suffered to stand in our place, that means that we ourselves were just that evil in original sin and our own sin. The devil is no excuse.
Here’s the truth about God’s love: He stepped into this world knowing that we, of whatever culture, of whatever country, of whatever epoch in history He entered to be among us, that we would turn on Him and torture Him to death, for we could not possibly tolerate such goodness and kindness and truth, thinking it all to be incriminating of us. We would have to kill him, any and all of us. And we have, by original sin and whatever of our own rubbish. Standing in our place, taking on the punishment for sin, the worst we can give out, death, He had the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, founding His mercy on His justice (Aquinas calling mercy a potential part of the virtue of justice in the Sentences).
In the Apocalypse (1:7) we read that “He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.” We won’t be able to escape the truth, we won’t be able to escape Jesus at the last judgement. Wouldn’t it be better to realize what the truth of this life is already now?
Being indignant just makes one’s determination to share the greatest love of one’s life, Christ Jesus, with others all the more unstoppable. I’m indignant when I hear that:
- We’re better than Stephen Paddock; we’re not like the rest of men.
- We have no need of redemption nor forgiveness because that’s for people who need it, like Stephen Paddock, who, at any rate, is beyond redemption and forgiveness because, you know, what he did was actually bad.
Think about it. That attitude, so incredibly common, gives one a licence to kill. There is no humility. None. And absolutely zero chance of finding a motivation with Stephen Paddock. Why? We fail to look in ourselves. We’re too much like him. We’re afraid to admit it; there’s no admitting: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Jesus didn’t really die for the forgiveness of sin. We didn’t actually kill Jesus off with our sin. Jesus was actually a fool for allowing Himself to be tortured to death, a damn fool.
I remember a local paper covering the Good Friday ecumenical service at the Methodist Church here in town which I had been invited to preach at. Our own Good Friday service (the Mass of the pre-Sanctified as it is called) was later in the day. Anyway, I had mentioned that Jesus had died because of our sins, and what was printed in the paper was that I said that I accused everyone present of being a murderer, with no other nuance, no context. Really?
Stephen Paddock mathematically figured out how to control the god of gaming the system of distraction; killing that god would be the ultimate in attainment of nihilistic power, the only thing left, which is nothing. If we could admit we could be that evil, then of a sudden a thousand other indicators come to light for profiling similar individuals who have made choices in their own unrepeatable but ever so similar histories and circumstances in life. The question is, do we have the humility to recognize the evil, which, by the way, is to admit that know something of it. No one wants to do that, unless one has already done that before the wounds of the Divine Son of God.
If one does not feel the weight (כבוד) of the glory (כבוד) of God manifested with the self-sacrificial love of the Son of God taking our place on the Cross, and so much so that what Stephen Paddock did pales in comparison, one is more like Stephen Paddock than one thinks. The difference is that admission of original sin and our own rubbish and the reception of the grace and forgiveness and friendship of the Son of God does separate us from the likes of a Stephen Paddock more than anything in our own unrepeatable histories. It is only with the introduction of reality provided by the Son of God, only with the introduction of the love and truth of God in our hearts and minds and souls which cuts through the self-congratulatory mind-games by which a Stephen Paddock could do what he did.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Be full of God’s love and truth.
Let being indignant help you to share the greatest love of your life, your Creator, your Redeemer.
And then profile with success all the other Stephen Paddocks out there, and stop them, for love of God and love of neighbor.