The wildly popular American Idol show illustrates our tendency toward “idol worship.” Anything you place over GOD becomes an idol in your life. With the freedom we have in America, it is easy to put things above GOD. Freedom also brings out the worst in some people, putting others in danger. Danger was lurking in the heart of Seung-Hui Cho because he made idols out of his own thoughts. Danger is lurking in our own hearts if we over-react to what this man did and fall into the trap of making SAFETY an idol.
In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech Tragedy, many good reforms have been made in the mental health system of Virginia and many good things have been done to make our campuses safer. I believe, however, that an attempt to ensure “safety” (making it an idol) has led to a potentially dangerous change in the law (VA HB 559) that could easily come to limit our freedom of speech and religion. The Virginia law changes the language for an involuntary commitment from ~imminent threat~ to ~substantial likelihood~ that you are or will be a threat in the near future. Because of the misguided psychological label I was given (though overturned since), I could easily be a candidate to test the new language of this law, based on what some still fear about me from this label. This is a legitimate concern I have (afterall, the label and fear from my not following the psychological recommendation led to a second involuntary admission last year too); however, I cannot worry about this. I will trust GOD for my safety!
When you put your own idea of safety above trusting in GOD for your safety you will limit freedom and worry about things you cannot control. There are some things we can control, and we should be careful and as safe as possible in all we do; however, there is much outside of our ability to control (If you want to read more about “Control” check out my blog entitled “It is ALL about CONTROL.”). Could you control the fierce cyclone that recently devastated Myanmar, killing tens of thousands? Can you control whether a tornado will touch down around you (as many have throughout the US in recent weeks)? Was anyone able to control the recent earthquake that killed thousands in China? There are things we can do to protect ourselves from danger, but we dare not fall into the trap of making safety an idol.
You CAN feel safe and secure and have peace in the midst of the storms of life (physically, emotionally, and spiritually)! Since this peace is uncommon in many people’s experience, some might even say you are crazy for not being more concerned about safety (they have to me). If you realize the top priority and lesson of all (see my Top Ten and other blogs there), then you can say with the Psalmist (whose life was in jeopardy at that very moment):
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”