There will be no politics in this post. If you were looking for me to bash or support our sitting president or any other politicians, you’ve come to the wrong place. I will, however, be talking about God, Christ, and how to live out our faith in a broken world. If you’ve come for that, keep on reading.
The news, no matter what your political stance, has been grim lately. My feeds have been tied up pretty tightly with news of the bombings in the Middle East, tension with North Korea, killings being streamed on Facebook live, and Arkansas’ attempt to execute 8 men in 10 days. So, with the Braves on a 5-game streak, I decided I would check in on sports news to bring some light to the day. There, one of the headlines was about a soccer fan who was pushed over the railing by another fan. He died a few days later. Darkness even in the sports world.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that people, especially Christians, don’t seem to know how to respond to death. Sure, when it’s a funeral for someone that was a follower of Christ, we know they’ve moved on to be with Christ. But what about other deaths? How do we respond?
Also, don’t forget that we are humans. As humans, it is literally impossible to view something completely objectively. Anything we see, read, or hear is filtered through our life experiences, our preferences, and our emotions. However, we must view Scripture and how the Bible shapes our lives as objectively as possible. So…read this with an open mind.
1.) Don’t laugh
Many of us joke around with death. I think it’s OK to joke around with family and friends about their lives. At every funeral, the best times come when people are able to share funny stories about what they were like and what they had done. But when we are talking about non-Christians or people in horrible situations, it’s not OK. I keep seeing memes and jokes circulating about the gassing of Syrians, the bombing of ISIS, and executing men on death row. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on. God values every life, and every life is sacred to Him. Simple logic would tell us that every life should also be sacred to us. I’m not defending the actions of ISIS or belittling the families of victims of death row criminals. What I am saying is that every person that dies without knowing Christ should hurt us. And we can’t joke about that.
2.) Don’t gloat
On May 2, 2011, I was doing what anyone could find me doing on a spring night. I was watching baseball. I flipped over to the Mets game because I heard something was going on. It turned out to be the announcement that we had killed Osama Bin Laden. Huge celebrations ripped through the ballpark. “U-S-A, U-S-A” was all anyone could hear. I didn’t see anything wrong with the reaction at the time. Here, 6 years later, I can see what was wrong. We were celebrating death again. Once again, I am not saying that Bin Laden was innocent. He was a ruthless human being that killed many. But he was a human being. A sinner, made in God’s own image, just like you and me. He mattered to God, and while we could have accepted his death, we should not have rejoiced in it.
3.) Don’t hide
Most of us want to curl up in a ball when the tough questions start coming. Honestly, I probably revised, re-revised, and re-re-revised this more than a few times. Then I thought, “I can’t publish this.” Then I sent it to someone else, hoping they would say “you can’t publish this.” It’s human nature to run from difficulty and hard discussions. But it’s Christ’s nature to run towards it with love. So don’t hide. Address the fact that we live in a broken world. Address that fact that God’s love extends, unconditionally, to the “worst of sinners,” as Paul would call himself in 1 Timothy. The condemned man, hanging next to Christ on the cross, had been accused, convicted and sentenced, much like the 8 men in Arkansas that were scheduled for execution this week. However, Christ still found value in his life. Christ still promised him salvation. No matter the situation, Christians should be finding value in life and finding ways to share the Gospel.