Sunday, April 22, 2007
It seems appropriate that today the skies are grey, and it is gently raining. Appropriate to the way I’ve been feeling. For the first time I saw the pictures of the young people who were murdered at Virginia Tech this past week. Somehow, putting faces to the statistics makes it all so much more real and tragic. They all look so young, so bright, and so full of potential.
I am thinking about the same things I thought about in the aftermath of the Columbine shootings. When someone does something like this, they take so much more than an individual life. Like ripples in water each of those lives touched so many others. Left behind to cope with the affects of a life cut short by a senseless act are broken-hearted families and friends. Who can know how their lives will be altered because this loved one is gone?
I am angry at the selfishness of it all. To satisfy some insanely imagined wrong the lives of so many are forever changed. I understand that such a mind is no longer functioning rationally, but the consequences of one insane decision just overwhelm me.
I think that to a much lesser degree it is true of all of us. We have in our power to make decisions for good or evil, and those decisions have far reaching affects. We truly never just hurt ourselves. Our actions inevitably affect those around us. We can’t have an attitude that says, “It’s my life. I can do what I choose. I’m not hurting anyone else.” It simply isn’t possible. Our lives are interconnected in such a way that my wrong choices will inevitably have consequences for the other people in my life. It is possible for them to “ripple out” and affect people I don’t even know.
Christ has called us to die to self. In doing so, I make choices that consider others first. And in the end, those choices are beneficial to me as well. A life lived centered on self is a very narrow life. It is an amazing truth that as we give our lives away we gain so much more than we could ever give. Jesus calls us to a life of abundance. His abundance is different than that of the world, but it is so much more rewarding. He offers us eternal life, freedom from the penalty and guilt of sin, hope, joy, peace, grace and blessings beyond anything we can imagine. The choice is ours to make.