So this past week or so has been an interesting one to say the least. I've experienced the great joy of being back in the teaching saddle at Grace Crossing, I'm beginning to feel better with every passing day it seems (yet I'm fighting off a flu bug I think), I feel like I'm coming out of a dark tunnel in many ways. I have enjoyed seeing my kids get back to school & transition so smoothly. I have witnessed the excitement of our people when we announced the move to our new building. So many moments of joy in the past week. But in the midst of all that joy was a sucker-punch to the gut that was a very real reminder of just how powerful sin is in our lives & in our culture.
Last week, a college friend of mine from my DePauw days was murdered in Dallas. Many of you may have seen the coverage on the news. She was a great girl. One of my favorites. We were Bonner Scholars together and had many of the same friends in our circles. She had a very giving heart & a magnetic presence that made people want to be around her. She impacted many, many people. I regret not keeping in touch with her since we graduated. But this incident has spurred communication with many old friends as we have shared memories, and for that I have been grateful. As new details continue to come out in her case it makes it all the more sad & made me stop & think about the world we all live in & must find a way to navigate through.
What is it that makes you...you? What is it that drives you to do the things you do? What motivates someone to kill another person? How can someone drift that far? As a culture how have we become numb to things that should be repulsive to us? Those of you who know me...know that I have friends in many different demographic groups & I love them all. Color does not matter to me, socioeconomic status does not matter to me, education level does not matter to me. People matter to me. People matter to God. If we valued each other the way God values each of us, how would things change?
I am starting to think that many people drift because we have things out of order in life. Our Actions, Our Relationships. Our Values. What if we've missed it? What if we've allowed our actions & our relationships to define our values, when it should be the exact opposite? What if we could each focus on our values in life, our beliefs, and have that be the catalyst for our actions & our relationships? Would anything change? I would argue that it absolutely would.
I see a world that is drifting, and behavior modification is not the answer. New policies & procedures are not the answer. The only answer is a change in the heart...a change in our values...a return to focusing on building WHO we are, and not just WHAT we are or WHAT we do.
May I never lose sight of the fact that I am a follower of Jesus PRIOR to being a pastor, or a husband, or a father, or a leader. The way I follow Jesus should influence everything else in my life.
I have to wonder...would my friend still be here today if we lived in a world where people focused on basing their lives on values & beliefs...instead of greed, jealousy, & every other sin you can think of. Satan is a great manipulator...be on guard my friends. I believe in a God who is bigger...a Jesus who has overcome...and a Spirit who continues to shape me into who I am called to be.
So again I ask...what is it that makes you...you?