Regina Contreras, Youth Speak News

Compassion for our fellow man

By  Regina Contreras, Youth Speak News
  • February 5, 2016

The mass shooting that claimed four lives in La Loche, Sask., and injured seven more on Jan. 22 was a horrific tragedy.

Moments like these are a time for people to stay together and pray together, as well as a time to remember the sacredness of human life and dignity. As a society, we are so quick to make assumptions, show our biases and opinions. But we must remember that every human person is created in the image and likeness of God with inviolable dignity, value and worth, regardless of race, gender, class or other human characteristics.

So what does this mean for youth and how can we apply it in being sensitive to the situation and moving forward? Yes, the events that occurred affect us all as a nation and call us to be strong and lend prayers to those in need. But it also calls us to love.

In a situation of right and wrong, of good and bad, just and unjust, we must realize that God calls us to show mercy to all those affected, both the victims and the attacker, in this case, allegedly a 17-year-old boy from the northern Saskatchewan town.

We must remember that both the most wounded victim and the most callous criminal retain their humanity. They all deserve our prayers because we desire for all people to enter the kingdom of God.

So too does the attacker deserve prayers and mercy. Even his dignity must be protected because he is made in the image and likeness of God and needs the same aid offered to the helpless.

Many can quickly say, “if only this,” or “if only that,” but the issue at hand is to get across the value of life and how to protect it. The only solution is to discover ways to develop an environment and setting where people who are struggling find a safe place to seek help.

It’s easy to point fingers at people and accuse them of evil, but in a sensitive situation there is no need to constantly remind others of all the hurt and harm caused. We must be sensitive to how the attacker is being treated. We must figure out ways to help him and others to prevent such a thing from happening again. In showing compassion and mercy towards the attacker, we foster an environment of love over hate, proving that a community like La Loche is capable of healing.

The value of human life is important because everyone is worthy of love, and in realizing that we must remember that God is love. In fostering an environment of love and mercy, we give way to a future full of hope to even the most hopeless. Where love is fostered, hate disappears, and where evil is diminished, Christ prevails.

(Contreras, 20, is a third-year communications student at University of Winnipeg.)

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