In the week it’s been since the shooting deaths at Von Maur here in Omaha, I’ve contemplated whether I should move on, topically. I see that many of you enjoyed the video of my daughter taking her first sled ride with me. I would like to return to less onerous subjects, but I feel like there’s just one last issue that I need to address.
Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that before I was a Christian, I was a graduate student in psychology. After I became a Christian, the more I learned about the Bible, the more I became convicted that Biblical worldview and psychology were at odds (click here fore more). What I took from my time in psychology education and some work in public mental health is that this man man system is utterly powerless to truly help people, especially in light of their problem with sin.
So in the aftermath of Robert Hawkins’ violence against the image of God, the local public mental health yokels moved to hold a press conference. It seems that every time there is a major episode of violence in this country, it turns out that the shooter was someone who managed to between the cracks of social services. This was not the case for Robert Hawkins, and they wanted to make sure we knew it. In fact, local social services had spent around $250,000 over more than a decade to try and help him.
It really seemed like they were heading off accusations that the system had failed, again. Ironically, their defense was proof that the system had indeed failed. In the days that followed, I’ve heard nobody ask what good the system is if 1/4-MILLION dollars does someone absolutely no good. probably no-one will.
I’ve held for a long time that psychology is fatally flawed. While it can describe and predict behavior, it cannot change the heart. Psychology looks to the human intellect as the sole source of truth, and views human nature as basically good. Neither assumptions are Biblical (Rom 3:10 and Prov 14:12 for starters). Since its assumption are flawed, psychology cannot reach a correct conclusion. The products of the system are proof of this. Yes people can be helped, but the root of sin can only be covered, and usually it finds some way to manifest itself again. Sadly, Robert Hawkins found no peace whatsoever in the”system.” I’d gamble that some amount of his despair was generated by all of the failed offers of help. If all of that effort was to no avail, then what?
Robert Hawkins story is tragic. What he did was despicable, but it was only the outworking of the same kind of sinful heart we all have. The system trains some people, but it cures none. It covers sin, redirects it, disguises it, but cannot kill it. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ kills the deeds of the body of sin (Romans 6:6). Again, my prayers are such that this tragedy yields opportunity for His gospel to be declared, not in condemnation of the dead, but for the sake of the living.