Monday, May 2, 2011

Remove from Me My Heart of Stone

We lost two important people in a matter of days. David Wilkerson, author of "The Cross and the Switchblade" and regarded as one of the forerunners of street ministry as well as the founder of Teen Challenge died in a tragic car accident. His sermon prompting Christians to anguish in prayer for the things that hurt God's heart totally wrecked me this weekend. Then, today, news of the assassination of Osama bin Laden is spreading, prompting responders online, even Christians, to respond by heaping more hate on an already hate-filled situation. What does wishing bin Laden a great time in Hell do for us? What does it accomplish, to as one person on Facebook wished, proclaim "I want to watch him be killed"? It hardens our hearts, makes us bitter and lulls us into thinking it's okay for us to live in the Grace of God that saved us from sin and then turn around and laugh that a man died, possibly while still rejecting the claims of Christ. Is this not a disgusting, twisted sense of self-righteousness that spews forth this kind of judgment? Is it not God who decides who goes to Hell? Am I not, in the deepest, ugliest recesses of my heart just like him? How can we believe in a God that says in Ezekiel 18:32 that He does not take pleasure in the death of anyone -- wicked or not -- and then rub our hands together, relishing the warm feeling of revenge, when someone evil is murdered?

Today, I am sorrowing for the death of another human being who's fate rests in God alone, not my opining or conjecture on where he might be right now. I am also sorrowing for the Church who is so seduced by the world that we feel it's okay to celebrate the death of another person, no matter how bad, no matter how sinful and the extent of the horrible and wrong things he did. We declare "an eye for an eye", spitting in the face of a Jesus who died for us all. I recognize the urge in my own heart to say "Good!" and feel justified that one who instigated the killing of so many has now been killed. And I reject that urge to sorrow with the Lord over the death of a man that HE made, a man who God knew from the womb and a man whom God never gave up on.

The death of a saint in Christ and a world-renowned terrorist -- both are pushing me towards anguish and towards a heart more attuned to Him today. May it be the same for you.