I have not posted anything on my blog for about a month because I have not had anything to say. Today I am breaking that silence because there are several things that have been on my mind and I believe there is a common link running through them.
Last week I read the story of Megan Meier, a teenager who committed suicide after being told (and convinced) that the world would be a better place without her. Apparently, this was done through MySpace by an adult woman who had set up a fictitious MySpace account to harass Megan. Sadly, the harassment worked. This is a disturbing story. I know Megan Meier is not the first (nor will she be the last) person to end her life, believing that her life is worthless. Yet I wonder how we (society) have created an environment where anyone would feel that the world is a better place without them. There is a need for good news!
Last night I was flipping through television stations and stopped at CNN. The broadcast was that of a 10-year old student reading a letter she had written to President-Elect Barack Obama. In the letter she that when she faces tough challenges she will ask herself (and I am not kidding you) ‘what would Mr. Obama do in this situation.’ Now I understand that there is nothing sinister about what this child said. Nevertheless, it seems to be very indicative of where our society is. We have now come to a time and place where the upcoming generation intentionally look to a public figure and cultural icon (yes, that is what our President-Elect is becoming) for the direction in life rather than to God. This has nothing to do with Barack Obama himself nor is he the first public that someone has looked for wise counsel but it is the first time I have heard such attribution so purposefully expressed. There is a need for good news!
This morning I stopped in a local coffee shop (imagine that) to grab a cup of coffee and do a little reading. Instead I found myself immersed in a conversation with a man who, according to his story, has really struggled in his life. Some of the struggles were do to some poor choices he made himself and others were do to unjust choices others made for him. This man told me how he is seeking out God and trying to learn how to overcome “the darkness” (his words). Naturally I wanted him to see how God is working in his life and trying to lead him into a life lived in the light rather than in darkness. However, as we continued to converse (I try to do more listening than talking), I kept noticing how this person keeps talking about all of the dark events that had taken place in his life. Now I know that we can never really forget our past and there is a time for talking about our past. Yet the more I listened the more it seemed like this man was still enslaved to his dark past, even if he was not actually living out the deeds of darkness. It seemed clear that his past is was still his identity, as the dark past is what looked back on to identify himself with. I kept wondering to myself ‘how do I communicate God’s redemptive grace in such a way that this person can not only learn of that grace but also be transformed by that grace in such a way that his past life of darkness is no longer his identity.’ Though the Apostle Paul would occasionally refer to his old way of life before meeting Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul’s past did not have a grip on him in such a way that it still served as his self-identity. As we know, Paul clearly understood himself as a new creation with the old gone and the new come (2 Cor 5.17). It did not appear as though this man in the coffee shop understood this yet, despite his claim to being a believer in Jesus. There is a need for good news!