It happened again today. Another shooting during a road rage incident. But this one, in New Mexico, resulted in the loss of a little four year old girl’s life. Little Illiana “Lilly” Garcia was a beautiful soul, according to all who knew her. She died in her car seat in the presence of her dad and her brother.
So how do we live in a Judges 21:25 world where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”? How do we live in that world while our hearts are in a Revelation 22:20 world, saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”?
Let’s take a little quiz. Let’s say we are with Mr. Garcia, Lilly’s father, right now. What do we say to him?:
- “You were doing great, man, avoiding an event totally caused by the other party, until you flipped him off and mouthed some choice words to him through your window.”
- “He destroyed your daughter, man. If he doesn’t get the death penalty, I will help you get him.”
- “I cannot fathom the grief you are feeling right now . . .” (conversation fades away as we weep with those who weep).
If we answered “A”, we have joined the latest wave of 21st century Pharisees. We are of that persuasion that says we must comb through the facts of any tragedy that happens to someone in order to find any place, however small, where they contributed to the outcome. And we must mention all that to them, even in their grief.
There is a time and place for all that (like at a legal inquest—believe me, this parent will spend the rest of his life wishing he had never flipped off that murderous driver). When someone has just suffered such an immense loss, you cannot speak to them about how they may have partially contributed to it. See John 9, if you are still unsure.
If we answered “B,” we have joined the latest wave of rebels. Rebels have always been, in every time and place, since the world began. They want to fix things because they don’t think God either can or will. They are determined to right the score, even if it means rushing ahead of God and the judgment He will bring someday, and sometimes even if it means imposing capital punishment on someone who legally would have gotten clemency.
The only answer the reflects the fact that we follow Christ is “C.” He wept. We weep with those who weep, even mourning the loss of a beautiful four year old whom we have never met.
The reason all of this matters and is worth a blog post is because a lot of us live our lives as Christians acting more like Pharisees or rebels than like followers of Christ. I fear the amount of hatred and verbal venom we spread sometimes when I John makes it clear that our love (particularly for each other) and kindness will characterize us as believers.
God is very able to show people where things have resulted from their own sins and mistakes. He is also able to right every wrong done to them by others. Our job is to love them and love them well. God may occasionally have us speak a hard word into the life of another person, but that will not normally be our daily fare (unless we happen to be the pastor of a very hard-hearted church, LOL!).
Let us love, brothers and sisters. The world needs to see that Christ is real. I John teaches that they will see that in our love.