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Connecticut Shooting: How Do We Respond?

Posted on: December 17th, 2012 by Laurie Coombs 3 Comments

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

What do we do when 20 little children and 7 adults are slaughtered before our eyes? How do we respond?

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No words of mine will ever do justice to this tragedy. To say it was a heinous act is an understatement.

Terrible. Wicked. Evil. Horrific.

None encapsulate the gravity of what has happened.

Having been on the receiving end of tragic news, I still have no words of comfort for those affected by this tragedy. To tell them I know what they’re going through can oftentimes be a slap in the face.

I remember many––with good intentions––tried to comfort and console me after my dad’s murder with their own stories of loss. I hate to admit this, but those who attempted to comfort me in this way only made me angry.

They don’t know what I’m going through, I thought.

They didn’t know my pain. They didn’t know what I was dealing with. They didn’t know my siblings and I would have to arrange for my dad’s cremation and funeral. They didn’t know we would have to take care of and clean up the crime scene after the investigation was complete. They didn’t know we would have to endure two years of preliminary hearings prior to the trial and would spend a week in the audience of my dad’s murder trial, and that I would speak to the jury during the sentencing phase.

Yet, even though I’ve been there. Even though my dad was murdered, I don’t know what the families in Connecticut are going through. This is their reality, not mine. We may know pain. But we don’t know their pain or their circumstance.

Still, to remain silent, I’ve learned, is hurtful as well. These families need support. They need to know they are loved. Coming to them. Entering into their pain and saying with honest sincerity, “I don’t know what to say, but I am here,” is the comfort they need.

When tragedy strikes, some victims prefer not to speak out, and this we must respect. But don’t mistake their lack of words for their lack of need. To sit in silence alongside someone who is suffering may be what’s in order.

Still, others need to talk. They need a listening ear. Not one that offers all the solutions or much guidance, but one that simply encourages them to talk. To process.

Regardless of how one grieves, we all need comfort in our time of need. We were created as relational beings. We need each other. Here are some other ways you can comfort those dealing with loss:

  • Bring lunch to them. Sit with them. Eat. Listen.
  • Drop off dinner (not only for one or two weeks after the tragedy but for longer).
  • Write a note of encouragement that doesn’t offer explanations or solutions but simply shows them you care.
  • Don’t forget the parents, grandparents, or siblings (little as they may be) in your efforts as well.

I don’t know how to do this from all the way over here in Nevada, but I pray Jesus allows each of us to be used. And I will certainly keep my heart open to whatever I am led to do.

I know now is not the time to attempt to find purpose in all of this, but I do know one thing. God will redeem this. Just as He does all things, He will bring good out of this evil.

This I’m sure of.

{Allow Jesus to use you to comfort the brokenhearted.}

Are there any other ways you can think of to care for, comfort, or minister to the families of those lost?

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