Radical Love Could Have Saved Nikolas Cruz, Ministry Says

Nikolas Cruz
Nikolas Cruz is placed into handcuffs by police near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018. |

Churches and society practicing "radical love" could be the solution for America's culture of school shootings, a children's ministry offered, indicating that it could stir troubled individuals away from a dark path.

Awana CEO Valerie Bell wrote Sunday on the children's ministry website that Christians need to think about the children that come through the doors of churches, and whether they are really taking away strong messages on love.

"I know it's a radical suggestion in Awana culture, but radical love is what this achy world is crying out for. Radical love can heal a child's life. It could keep a kid who lost his mother and father too early, a boy who is bullied, a young man who is lost and alone from picking up a gun and using it to fire randomly his pain into the world until innocent schoolmates lie bloody and dead at his feet," Bell wrote.

"Oh Parkland! How we long to love your precious 17 children, but it's too late to hug, comfort, or shield them now."

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old shooter behind the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School slaughter, where 17 people were killed, had been adopted at birth. His adoptive father died in 2004, while his adoptive mother died in November, three months before the shooting.

The former student, who had been expelled from the school and who had been posting highly disturbing content online, was taken in by a friend's family, as he had nowhere else to go.

The latest shooting has reignited debates on the causes of such mass murder and how to prevent them. Many are debating gun control as well as the influence of violence and pornography in media.

Some, such as Jerry Newcombe, on-air host of D. James Kennedy Ministries, argued that such violence comes as the Bible, prayer and God have systematically been removed from American schools.

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum pointed the finger at children growing up in broken homes with the absence of fathers.

Bell argued that in the midst of all the pain and confusion, there is something that churches and Christians can do to address the problem.

"This violent world is in need of real lovers and the church is IT! God's people can love a child until the pain stops. We already know how to do this. God's love made real to a child through the presence of caring adults who love radically week after week is the answer to violence, hatred and sin. We know this way of love. It is the Jesus way and in America it's never been more needed than it is now," she wrote.

"What if we committed ourselves to making sure that every child within the reach of our churches knows he or she is loved by us and by God? I mean wanted, and celebrated, and really loved. Let's commit to more than grudgingly showing up. It is the wrong time to drop children's ministry," the Awana CEO stressed.

Bell argued that if loving children becomes the top priority for churches, then no other church-growth campaign will even be needed.

She said that megachurches and other small churches can all come together to fight the violence by advocating for every child within their reach.

"The church. If 10,000 Awana churches dedicated themselves to this real love mission, it could change everything," she positioned.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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