Well, it's happened again.
A young student, with much of life to live, walked into his own High School and shot several fellow students, killing 3, wounding at least 2 more.
We're still finding out 'why', but the theories are coming out: He spent some time in "Goth" mode, being anti-social. He was bullied and teased by other students. One of the victims may have been a current boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend. Eventually, I'm sure we'll know the exact reason that he 'went off', but there are lessons to learn, no matter what.
Certainly there are lessons about unsecured guns, bullies, and so on.
...but I want to focus on the shooter--not only this one, but so many others.
What is the one thing they have in common?
Many of them have had hard lives...but not all. Many have been picked on...but not all. Many are 'social outcasts'...but not all. Some have intense, violent video game obsessions...but not all.
I would say there is one thing that each of them have in common, though--and it's something we all tend toward doing.
They let other peoples' opinions of them determine what they think of themselves. They let other people's behaviors determine thier own behavior--even to the point of killing. They fear others' rejection of them so much that they give in to their rudeness. (Proverbs 29:25)
I don't know about you, but I was bullied at times as a kid; I had some very negative things go on in my life; I was teased at times, and at times, a 'social outcast'. There were many times I was hurt by others' words and actions--cut to the core.
...and that's the problem.
We all let other people 'define' us--whether we're 'good' or not, 'cool' or not, 'good looking' or not, 'popular' or not and 'secure' or not.
We let them determine what we think inside our own brains about ourselves!
Why do we give them that kind of power?
There is ONE who's opinions you should care about--and ONLY One!
Your God--your Creator, Lord, and Keeper--is the One who has the absolutely accurate opinion of you...(and, by the way, He loves you like crazy!)
He loved you enough, He sacrificed His 'pride and joy'--His one and only Son--so that you can live! (John 3:16-17)
He knows you--your insecurities, your fears, and He loves you anyway. (Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16)
He knows what you've been through--your hurts, your painful memories, your embarassments, and He loves you anyway. (Psalm 56)
He knows your deepest, darkest secrets--your sins, your addictions, your frequent failures...and He loves you anyway. (Romans 7:18-25)
In fact, there's NOTHING you can do to stop Him from loving you. You didn't earn His love, so you can't 'un-earn' it. His love is secure, keeping you secure when the storms of life are raging around you. (Romans 8:31-39)
He's got plans--BIG plans--for you. He will lead you into blessing, if you let Him lead, and if you follow Him. (Jeremiah 29:11)
In the meantime, there will be others who will try to convince you that you're nothing; that the world would be better without you; that you are--and always will be--a failure. "Epic fail" they mutter when you pass. They'll point out every imperfection you have. That acne, that lisp, that eyebrow. They'll make fun of your height (or the lack thereof), your weight, and your personality.
They'll try to ruin your own opinion of you.
And they can be brutal.
..but don't let them.
Instead of letting them define you, get your definition from the One who made you and loves you...and remember: He's the One who made them too, and He loves them.
Don't lash out. Don't give in to the anger and hate. (Romans 12:14-21)
Instead, lean on God's love for you. Pray for them. Rise above their smallness, and be one of the 'vessels' God uses to turn things around.
Don't let them sidetrack you from the blessings He has for you.
Commit yourself to the Lord. Let Him define you. Let Him love you.
...the future will continue to be bright!
God loves you, and so do I.
Ps: If this was helpful to you, PLEASE go back and look up the Scripture references. Don't have a Bible? Go here: www.biblegateway.com
...and WATCH THIS VIDEO!