There’s a specific person in this world whose sins have affected probably millions of people and maybe more, though there’s no way any earthly being could keep a count of something so visually intangible. I can say this because I believe that sin is a seed, just like faith, and has the potential to grow and infect others due to the devastating relational, physical, emotional, mental, etc., wreckage left behind from its destructive havoc.
I’m talking about myself.
If I added up every selfishly-motivated thought, word, and deed, that I’ve breathed life into simply out of a desire for my will coming first.......the thought causes me to tremble inside with a sadness and remorse that in all appearances feels insurmountable. I don’t want to be that kind of person. And “grateful” doesn’t begin to describe the joy and peace and flooding of emotion I have spilling out of my heart because I know Jesus is refining me into one who, one day, won’t be that kind of person, and who has the power right now to not ever be that kind of person again.
So I’m having a little trouble today celebrating a death, even if it is the death of a terrorist who deserved his demise. While I’ve never nurtured and relished a plan to crash airplanes into buildings and kill people purely because I don’t like what they represent, it would be blatantly false to say that I’ve never been driven internally to some degree by the root of the same sentiment, to imagine and dare I even say hope that someone who for whatever reason has wronged me – whether that sentiment is real or imagined - would face devastation in his or her life as payment for whatever directly or indirectly negative element he or she has brought to me or to someone I care about.
I appreciate and embrace as much as an outsider can the sense of justice that must be swelling in the hearts of those whose lives were devastated by the evil this man unleashed. I, too, am swept into that sense of national pride that a terrible wrong has been confronted, and I exhale as well into the collective sigh of relief filling the atmosphere of the allied world. There is a perfect beauty that blossoms from justice, one that confirms our sense of hope that the future of a harmonious universe isn’t lost.
But another image captures my mind, and it paints tears falling from the eyes of the Lord for the life that could’ve been, for one that was also created in His image and found worth it to die for, and, as far as my simplistically limited perspective can attest to, chose not to believe it so. So for this I mourn.
I wonder if something is terribly wrong with me that I don’t feel filled with the joy that seems to be rightfully saturating everything around me, like somewhere I’ve taken a detour that’s too touchy-feely on my spiritual walk. But what I sense now is that the beautiful sense of justice and the lamenting sorrow that fill me are not opposites that can’t co-exist. Somehow I know that the wrong I’ve done has caused the same tears to fall from the eyes of the Lord......but I also know that the revolution I’ve become because of the heart-piercing, life-creating sweetness His grace has created in me has also produced tears in Him of an entirely different sort.