Lock down! Another shooting on the Virginia Tech campus…another gunman is at large! One has been killed and we know now it was a policeman. Now, another has been found dead…the suspect is said to be a young white male in a hooded sweatshirt with backpack….the Interstate 81 rest stop in Radford in also closed indefinitely. This is how Thursday afternoon went here in the Blacksburg and New River Valley area of Virginia. (There had been a trial run of this type of thing back on 08-04-11, just before the semester began.) Could this actual 12-08-11 shooting event be another 04-16-07 all over again?!? Ironically, all of this activity was happening on the same day that there was a hearing about alleged violations of the Clery Act in Virginia’s State Capital, Richmond. Police from all over the area were descending upon Blacksburg again; Virginia State police were taking the lead in the investigation. The news media was on the story and the local news agencies were overriding normal programming. News of this latest shooting event again spread quickly around the world! Horror, sadness and wonder gripped the emotions of people all throughout the community! Fear began creeping in and controlling decisions that people all over this area were making. Fear was being created!
Have you ever thought about this? Fear can be created! Perhaps you can remember those times that you and some friends were sitting around telling ghost stories. Maybe you recall some time when you were watching a mysterious or even a horror movie? What about those times when you started thinking about evil in this world and wondering if something bad was about to happen right around you? Fear can be created. In fact, fear is a natural and quite common emotional response. Is not worrying about the future—what has yet to happen in time—something that we all tend to do and have to face? Do you worry? Worrying is not the same as reasonably thinking ahead and planning. Does something yet to happen in time or something you are convinced is likely to happen consume you and control actions that you take? For many, it often does. Indeed, it is when we repeatedly think or obsess about any particular thing, that we will most likely be creating fear.
Thoroughly discussing and thinking about this would require more time and space than I have here. I do, however, want you think further with me. Is it not often true that we create our own reality and situations? The way we daily interact with others, psychologically impacts them and they respond from wherever they are at the time. Each of us has much power and influence in the lives of all those around us, whether we think we do or not. We are naturally curious and social creatures. We all regularly make judgments about people and things in our lives. Like it or not, this is true. Our judgments may not always be right and are often not thoroughly objective; we all come to others and interact with them from our own perspective or bias and naturally tend to compare ourselves with others. This is natural, but it is not wise. When we get into a mindset of looking at and comparing our lives with others, we no doubt will become prejudiced against some and even begin to create our own atmosphere that involves fear on at least some level. When we do this, we are unable to show real love to others. The Bible makes this very clear as well. 1 John 4:18 says:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Friend, with the labels that have been placed upon me after that horrible tragedy of 04-16-07, I know and have come to personally understand how harmful and devastating fear can be! Will you allow fear and worry or love and service to control you and the daily decisions and interactions you have? There are things that we should be concerned about and even fear on some level (evil is real). If you will learn with me, you will come to see that the number one lesson from 04-16-07 (of the Top Ten that I discuss in my book) and the number one lesson from this latest 12-08-11 shooting, and in reality the number one lesson in life is to FEAR GOD ABOVE ALL! It is possible to FEAR and love HIM. You can “trust GOD and His Word, no matter what” (the theme of my book). You should be creating that fear!