Recently, we have witnessed an eruption of protests and riots all over the U S and the world in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer. This murder was an atrocious and cowardly act and it must be condemned by everyone.
Life is a precious gift from our Creator and it must be treasured. No one has the right to murder another human being, regardless of their race, age or any other status. Murder is not what happens when you are faithfully serving your country as a soldier or when you are acting in self-defense. It is the taking of another person’s life in a premeditated and malicious manner.
I agree that every life matters (except maybe for mosquitoes and rats). The life of every person on this planet matters---even the lives of those who are opposed to my viewpoints and beliefs. I am against all forms of evil discrimination and racism and I also believe that to believe otherwise is an affront to God, in whose image all members of mankind have been created.
Let me put it more clearly: I believe that life is sacred because it proceeds from a holy God and therefore must be respected, preserved and protected. I will take it even further by saying that people of all races matter; people of all cultures matter; people of all nations matter; people of all political ideologies (yes, even communists) matter and people of all faiths matter.
Now, before you accuse me of being ecumenical or politically correct allow me to explain. I don’t have to agree with (or even like) everyone in order to believe that their lives matter. I despise the tenets of Communism, Socialism, Islam, Buddhism, homosexuality, liberal politics, anarchy, racism, the prosperity “gospel” and many other evil and wicked beliefs and unbiblical institutions.
I hate sin, but I don’t have to hate the sinner. The Bible commands us to:
“…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 19:19)
The Bible even admonishes us to love those who hate us.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-48)
When we love God and our neighbor we are fulfilling the Law (Galatians 5:14). When we love God we can love our neighbor, regardless of their race or any other thing that separates us from each other. When we love God, we will value life, every life---even the life of the unborn.
This is what really matters: The love of God in our hearts which overflows in love for others. This is not puppy love or platonic love; this is real love. This is the kind of love that led the Father to send his only begotten Son to die on the cross to save our lives (John 3:16). This is the life that matters above all ---A life that has been redeemed and filled with eternal life, boundless love and imperishable hope.
In the recent months our school has seen the disappearance of some of our teachers. It seems as if each month we lose one of our instructors. The administration, as well as other teachers, parents and students are dumbstruck by this turn of events.
These teachers have not been fired, transferred or kidnapped. They are not with us anymore due to sickness or retirement. They have simply passed away one after the other. Some were elderly and a bit sick, but others, including my friend Jeff, died all of a sudden.
I can imagine some in our teaching community scratching their heads and wondering if they will be next. A cloud of sadness and anxiety has engulfed our school and perhaps all of us are thinking about the finiteness of our earthly lives.
More recently we have seen the global devastation of the Coronavirus. More than 6 million people have been infected and over one hundred thousand have died in the United States alone. Every day brings a new wave of deaths, although the “curve” is actually dipping down in most countries.
This pandemic has transformed our world, perhaps for a long time to come. Many have actually died, while others are prisoners of fear and anxiety. Even most of our churches have fallen prey of this terror as they are still closed for (the Lord’s) business.
These are the cold hard facts:
All of us will die one day (except for those who take part in the Rapture)
Any of us can die at any moment
We cannot prevent our own death
“Living” in fear and anxiety is worse than dying in Christ
Who is the next person that will pass away in our congregation? Only God knows. There are two ways in which we can live: In Fear…or as the Bible says,
“The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
And what if you or I are next? Will that really be so bad? What if we adopt a different viewpoint instead? What if we would decide to follow Paul’s example and proclaim that:
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” (Philippians 1:21-23)
I do not wish for anyone to die. I hope and pray that all of us can be Raptured away by Christ and go “from life to life,” but even death cannot separate us from God and his love (Romans 8:35-39).