whyWhy is the World So Full of Violence?

whyThe second month of 2018 has only reached its halfway mark, and already five schools have come under attack. Gun-wielding people bent on violence and destruction steal the innocence of children and communities. Why?

I confess that as a teacher who works with traumatized children, I often wonder if when this could happen to me. They say that hurt people hurt people. And traumatized people traumatize people.

I wonder what I would do if I heard gunshots outside my classroom? Would I be like the PE teacher who threw himself in front of students to protect them? Would we tip over the giant conference table in my classroom and huddle behind it?

Samantha Grady, a young woman injured in the Parkland shooting, says that her friend ran with her behind a bookcase and urged her to grab a book to use as a shield. The friend did not survive. Why?

What kind of world do we live in that students learn to use books as shields and teachers go through mental scenarios of how to save their students should the worst occur?

The Problem with Asking, “Why, God?”

The Bible clearly states that we live in a world at war. Ever since the fall of man, the devil has warred for our affections and dominion over our lives. The problem? We get comfortable and forget that we live in a war zone.

We get comfortable and forget we live in a war zone. #tragedy Click To Tweet

I shouldn’t ask God, “Why?” because that’s asking a question I already know the answer to. Sin. Asking God why a tragedy occurs only bogs us down and fills us with despair. If we ask God why he allows these tragedies to occur, we ask the wrong question. The question we should ask is this, “How can I love?”

Sinful people in a sin-filled world have a difficult time loving. Especially in the face of tragedy. Twenty-some years ago, a college professor that I know* lost his daughter when she opened the door to a stranger’s knock. He and his wife, instead of focusing on the why question, chose to ask the how question. “How could they help the young man who had violently murdered their daughter?”

“Why?” seems like a pointless question—one that can bog us down in debate, recrimination, and anger. “How?” feels full of purpose.

“How can I help?”

Or maybe, “How can I show love?”

“How can I act as Jesus’ hands and feet?”

In the face of trauma and terror, I want to always ask “How can I show love?” What about you?

*You can find his story on Amazon (affiliate link)


  1. Anita, what a great post. You put into words what I couldn’t quite manage. Asking “Why?” often leads to despair. We focus on the unknowns rather than on how to act in the midst. I was touched by what your college professor and his wife asked, “How can we love?” That is amazing. And such a good question to ask.

    We may not ever find the answer to the Whys of life, but we can make an impact when we ask that question: “How can we love?”

    Beautiful, my friend.

  2. Anita, a wonderful post. I so agree with you. We will never have the answers to our “Why’s” this side of eternity. Instead, may we ask, “How can we love?”. May we bow low before our God, asking Him to make us more like Him and impact those around us.

    Beautiful and needed post for us all.
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Why?My Profile

  3. Actually there have not been “18 schools under attack” since the first of the year. As a Christian and Teacher I would expect more digging for the truth, rather than being driven by sensational headlines.

  4. What a good perspective change Anita! As I struggle to make sense of all this violence your words have given me a new way to frame it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It’s given me a lot to think about! Cindy Wilkins

  5. I appreciate your questions “How can I love?” and “How can I help?” so much. In a situation of despair they can open the door a crack to let hope in again.

    Jeannie (#65 in the linkup this week)

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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