I Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
One of the greatest lessons coming from the VT Tragedy and my own personal tragedy is to “love one another.” This is one of the “Top Ten” lessons and will be particularly discussed in the chapter of my book: “Lessons for Churches.”
Back in May of 2007 when I had first gone back to my local church (after my involuntary commitment, which I detail in the book) the pastor was discussing why the church had not grown more, now being 100 years old. He asked those there for reasons why this might be so and many potential ones were offered. John 13:35 immediately came to my mind. Recently, at the church where I now have membership, the pastor said that GOD gives the world the right to judge Christians! He was referring to John 13:35.
The excuse most often given for why people do not attend church is that “there are too many hypocrites there!” Those who are not Christians watch those who claim to be. They are looking for people who are “real.” They are looking for love in action–for people to “practice what they are preaching.” As a rebuke to my own greater community of believers, I wonder, how good are we at demonstrating that we love each other, much less those who are not a part of our congregations?
In the Roanoke Times Sunday (04/13/08), and just as has been emphasized in many ways on the campus and in the VT community since 04/16/07, there were 32 people shot and killed by one self-absorbed man on 04/16/07. However, 33 died that day, and we will not learn all the lessons we should if we do not see that there were 33 victims, and not only 32 as is often emphasized. Certainly, these 32 were victims of this one and should be specially remembered. We should also remember Seung-Hui Cho, who was a victim in another sense—a thing that needs to change in our churches and in our society. How might things be different if people around Seung-Hui Cho had showed him more love? We cannot look to make excuses or merely blame–especially in placing this on any one person. This focus alone will only contribute to the problem of the need for truth in love. We all need to do a better job of showing love to our neighbors (those around us wherever we are). Jesus said this is the second greatest commandment (the first being to love GOD supremely—see Matthew 22:35-40).
This past Wednesday, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed into law changes that the Virginia House and Senate unanimously passed earlier this year. There is much good in these legislative changes, but a real concern that I personally have is that these changes are not enough to ensure safety and prevent another act like the shootings on 04/16/07. The answer is NOT to focus on primarily broadening the laws allowing for greater involuntary commitment of those deemed “mentally ill” (if not legally limited, this new language could be used to severely impact freedom of speech and religion this country has enjoyed). The greater solution and the lesson to be learned is that we must be a “good neighbor” and show true love to all those around us (especially when they are different and struggling to “fit in”).
If I were truly “mentally ill,” then the treatment that I have endured by many (especially those closest to me) since 04/16 may well have pushed me to the extent that Seung-Hui Cho chose. He will give an account to GOD, as will we all. We had better learn from this or we will continue to see examples of this extreme inward focus by those feeling outcast in society, even as is in the news today, effecting several other college campuses.
Showing true love (see my “LOVE Found Me” Poem) is a KEY LESSON TO BE LEARNED and True LOVE is a Person!