Police say Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd at a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday night, killing at least 59 people and injuring at least 527 others in the worst mass shooting in American history.
Investigators are trying to find out – why? Was it terrorism? No. Was it hatred toward a particular group of people? No. Was it a statement about gun control? No. Was it politically motivated? No.
Here is my take. I believe Stephen Paddock was hurting and depressed. Hurt people hurt people. They project their hurt on to others as if to shout to the world, don’t you see how much I am hurting? All those people who were shot give a picture of the depth of his pain.
So, do you know anyone who is hurting deeply? Be there for them. Share the love of God with them. God cares about hurting people. He is the healer of the soul. I believe there are some people who knew he was hurting but they could not or would not reach out to him.
Are you hurting? Get help. There is help. Talk with a counselor or go to church. The Gospel is the good news of God’s willingness to suffer for the cause of our hurt – sin and the effect of sin. This is precisely why it is so important to be a part of a church. We are here as God’s people to offer hope, to lift up the downhearted, to provide community where people feel accepted and loved. The church can do this like no other organization.
It sounds simplistic but it is not. I believe in God’s power to heal, to transform lives. He often does it through us. The Holy Spirit comes along side those who are hurting. It may be difficult. It may not be what you would like to do. But it can make a difference.