Op-Ed: A biblical response to the Covenant School massacre

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

In the wake of yesterday’s horrific massacre at Covenant Christian School in Nashville, Christians are left wrestling for answers, coming to terms with a mass murder that explicitly targeted not only followers of Jesus Christ but also Christian children.

Yesterday, Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old female who identified as a male, opened fire on the school grounds just after 10:00 am ET. She murdered six people. Three of them were 9-year-old students: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and Williams Kinney. The others were staff members at the school: headmaster Katherine Koonce, teacher Cynthia Peak, and custodian Mike Hill.

Just before 10:30, Hale was killed by members of the Nashville Police Department, who responded swiftly and promptly to the scene to stop her from causing any more bloodshed.

Later reports revealed that the school was adequately prepared for a shooting, but that Hale forced her way in by shooting out the locked doors. Further reports revealed that she was a student at the school when she was in elementary school.

Today, the investigation continues into what motivated Hale’s attack, with police saying she may have been spurned by “some resentment” towards the school. The New York Post revealed that she was prepared to die and left a suicide note in the form of a personal Instagram message to her middle school friend Averianna Patton.

The message was allegedly sent at 9:57 am, just before Hale committed the murders.

Author’s Biblical Analysis

It is difficult for me to find the words to make sense of this horrid act, but I believe we must try to make some sense and find some shreds of hope.

I believe it is right for Christians to call this what it is. This was an intentional, premeditated, planned murder of people who follow Jesus Christ. The young woman who committed this act meant to slaughter Christian adults and Christian children.

There are many emotions to consider. One is anger, which I believe, in its proper place, is not necessarily wrong. I will say simply, lest I venture into the sinful realm of vengeance, that I am grateful for the justice of God, and for the promise that He will deal rightly with the wicked and the unrepentant.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  – Romans 12:19

But another, and one that should far supersede any anger or indignation at the perpetrator, is heartbreak.

Today, six families woke up without their loved ones. Three sets of parents woke up knowing their children were slaughtered in cold blood yesterday.

One of those parents, a man by the name of Chad Scruggs, is the senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, the congregation where Covenant School is housed. Today, Pastor Scruggs has to find the courage to still shepherd his congregation and the students under him while also mourning the death of his own precious daughter.

We need to pray for these brothers and sisters.

We need to come alongside them and lift them up before the Lord, asking that He would fill them with comfort and be near to them in their pain.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.  – Psalm 34:18

We also need to hold fast to the hope of the gospel.

This world is not our home. We do not belong here, and if we feel like we do belong here, something is seriously wrong. Horrid things such as this have a way of reminding Christians of the holy discontent we must feel with this place. Indeed, we should feel this way. This broken, perverse world is not our home.

In such a dark report, one shred of light that we hold to, and one that we should pray the victims’ families would remember, is the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.

We can know without a doubt that those who have repented of their sin and put their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will be saved and spend eternity in heaven. This is why even though we mourn and experience heartbreak when confronted with death, when a believer dies we do not mourn in utter despair.

The hope of eternal life is not just a nice sentiment to help us get through hard times. It is the true reality for all of us who trust in Jesus Christ.

May you be reminded of the great hope of the gospel today.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  – John 14:1-3