…our daily dose of guilt…
I’m not sure when it began, but I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t feel guilty about something. My experiences as I grew up only added to my existing supply. So much so, that I imagined myself with a bag that would rival Santa’s and Mary Poppins’ combined – no matter how much you took out, the bag remained full of all sorts of things. Not that I ever really took any out….
…Until I discovered that Jesus bore ALL my guilt on the cross. It took several years to empty this burdensome collection, as in the beginning I would remove one issue and simply replace it with another. Did you know that you can feel guilty about not feeling guilty?? But the more I studied the price paid through His death, the more He began to show me how to let Him have it all. And now that I have found my freedom, I bristle at even the generic attempts to put guilt back on me:
If you care whether or not cancer is cured, you’ll change your status for an hour….
If you love Jesus you’ll post/forward this…
If you’re not stingy, you’ll buy two books for this toddler you don’t know and sign your own child/grandchild up for this amazing chain letter guilt trip….(Ok, well maybe it’s not stated like that, but it’s how I read it…)
Today’s dose of guilt: how can you grieve the suicide of a famous comedian when X number of veterans commit suicide unnoticed every day?
Rather than respond to this social media post with a snarky comeback or holier-than-thou comment, I chose to meditate on my feelings about this question. My meditation led me to another question, which is at the heart of why this bothered me so: what makes a man’s life worth mourning his death?
Does his noble purpose in life make his death more important? Does his lack of success or misuse of his time while on this earth make him less worthy of being mourned? Do we measure the sorrow of death by the activities of life? Not if you’re the surviving wife, or child, or sibling, or friend. Not if you are God.
God created man and breathed into him His own breath. This image of Himself was His greatest work – the work to which He planned to give Himself fully. This being of flesh and bone was designed to be the recipient of His love. And it was good.
David understood the heart of God towards him:
I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well…How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:14, 17
Every single human being matters to God. We who believe in Jesus will face death – and our deaths are precious to Him because He waits to gather us to Himself in a completely unhindered relationship. Jesus wept over those who wouldn’t come to Him and accept His love. He wasn’t weeping because believers were more important than non believers, or because He rated their life value based on what they did or didn’t do. He wept because He knew what they would miss upon their death. Life.
I never met this comedian. I am sad that one who brought the good medicine of laughter to so many has died by his own hand. I am sad that one who had so much found it wasn’t enough. I am sad to read that he didn’t believe in God. I am sad if that is true, that I will not see him one day in heaven. I am sad he is gone.
My sadness over this death does not minimize my sorrow for those who die in battle, or under the bridge in their homelessness, or from starvation on the other side of the world. My heart is large enough to grieve for them all. And just between you and me, if one receives my focus today more than the others, I will not feel guilty that I care.