Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Mind Of Christ

I watched the coverage of the shooting at Northern Illinois University on television as it unfolded. It was surreal. I recognized the building in which the chaos was taking place. Waves of emotion, fear and concern, flooded my thoughts. This is crazy. Brushing tears aside, suppressing the sorrow welling inside of me, I watched.

I recalled an event not long ago when the school was closed for a day because of threats of violence. I wondered if it was connected. Many students from our community attend NIU. My daughter is commuting there two evenings a week to finish her teaching degree. She was on campus the night before it happened.

Information about the shooter was released fairly quickly, a face to put with the crime. Still surreal. Can't imagine the tragedy though my brain tries to wrap around the descriptions given by the survivors.

I hear people discussing the shooter. In derogatory terms as one would expect. But I have to tell you, I feel no judgment.

Though I wish it had never happened, I am yielded to faith and yes, acceptance.

Classes resume next Monday. I can only imagine how hard it will be on the students as they return.

But this is how I imagine the mind of Christ to be...forgiveness.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Light Of Grace

In every darkness/evil/deception/judgment that has presented itself in my life, light/good/truth/mercy has also been revealed. The accuser is present daily - in thoughts and words spoken, by insinuation and innuendo, in attitude, presentation, or intention. In fact, I would go so far as to say accusations are more prevalent in a day than grace.

But occasionally grace manifests and I realize how blind I have been.

Grace and mercy is what I desire for myself but I am often unwilling to extend it. Grace is offensive to me at times, especially when it concerns those with whom I am at odds. I don't necessarily want to cover their imperfections, but I certainly want mine obliterated.

John 1: 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There is a popular photo of the earth with the moon in the foreground. Viewing it, I am keenly aware of the deep darkness surrounding both heavenly bodies. The earth and moon are visible only by the reflected light of the sun. The planets are not the source of their light.

That is how I see mankind. Though we may reflect the light within us and may even pride ourselves in our understanding of the Light, we are not the source of that light. God's light shines equally on all His creation. The fact that His grace offends me when it shines on my "enemies" in no way reflects His lack of judgment. It only reflects my lack of mercy.

The light shining brightest in my darkness is His grace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I just watched a video of two teenage girls in Florida who were caught after stealing Girl Scout-cookie-sales-money from a 9-year-old girl. The teens show no remorse for their actions and are quite vocal about how "pissed" they are to have been caught.

My natural reaction to the unrepentant girls is one of judgment and revulsion at their blatant insolence. Adding further to the incident, the authorities said the teens weren't charged because they didn't use force or take the money directly out of the young girl's hands.

"Say what!?...there's a formula to follow to actually be held accountable?!?"

"Yes, you would have to use force or take it out of her hands or it doesn't count as stealing."

"The money is gone but apparently not chargeably stolen." **My hands and eyebrows raise in bewilderment**

Calming down and further reflecting on my response to the incident, I realize God loves the unrepentant teens as much as He loves the innocent victim. The spiritual merciful response is quite different from the natural judmental one to which I have been accustomed.

Reflecting on the teen's actions and the local authorities' interpretation of the law, I can only say I am thankful that God is the final authority and not me. Gratitude doesn't begin to define my appreciation to Him for His grace toward me when I am misguided, unrepentant, or insolent.

Therein, for me, is good and evil defined. His grace covers it all.