Over the past seven days, the perspective of what is really important has changed for many people. One week ago today, a terrible tragedy happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Because of that tragedy, many of us have supported one cause or another. We speak with outrage and anger that something must be done. Some of us are performing acts of kindness for the victims of the shooting. Some people have declared to arm themselves, while others are fighting against allowing people to own certain guns. People have become more aware of mental illnesses and vowed that we must solve that problem. There have been millions of Facebook status updates and posts stating that they know the solution to the problem. There is no doubt that most everyone’s voice, cause, or actions have the intent to make sure something like this never happens again. Even the leader of our country has vowed to create change for that very purpose.
So what has gripped me as a Christ follower is this: “What is my responsibility?”
I have been part of the masses of people that have said this or that, and hugged my kids tighter. In the wake of something like this, these are natural reactions. We have to do something. We do that because we think we need to take action to make this better. We want to defend a cause, or create acts of kindness projects, etc. However, as Christ followers, we miss the real solution to every evil that lives in this world and even inside of us sometimes. In Matthew 22: 34-40 we see what this very solution is:
"But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?'And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'" - Matthew 22:34-40
Jesus fulfilled each of these commandments. He loved God with his very life. He willingly gave up his life for the very purpose of making much of God. He also showed love to those around him in dramatic ways. Then Jesus tells us in John 13:15: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” and in 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” and finally in 1 John 2:6: “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
So I say this to you and myself in the wake of such an awful tragedy: Let us fight the urge to just go and do something or say something. Let us love God with our lives, not by task, but with our whole heart. Let us love God because He is worthy to be loved. Let us love those who have no hope. Let us love with our whole lives those who are wrecked with sin. Let us love who we don’t think deserve it. Let us hug our kids tighter, but more importantly let us live the example of JESUS CHRIST in front of them so they see Jesus. Living like this is so much more powerful that adopting a cause or performing random acts of kindness. Our passion for that cause or the acts of kindnesses will end, but our Love for God should burn inside of us like a never ending fire that lights up the world and points all to the Solution: JESUS CHRIST!!!
May God bless you and renew the fire inside of you this next year!
BCC College Pastor