Blame Me for Tucson

Life Notes—January 13, 2011

“’Can a blind person guide a blind person?  Will not both fall into a pit?…Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?…You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.’”  Luke 6:39b-42 

As a child I was told the one finger I pointed in blame at another left three pointing back at me.  An Anthropology professor and mentor told me our external environment is but a reflection of our inner reality.  In business I’ve learned I cannot positively impact anything I won’t take responsibility for.  Jesus’ words above warn me to be careful judging the sins and shortcomings of others until I’ve taken a good look at myself. 

So, I’ve done some serious soul-searching since the Tucson tragedy last Saturday, where six people were fatally shot and many more wounded at a political appearance in a shopping area.  Many have been quick to blame politicians or causes or lax gun laws.  I have tried to look within.  What in me is reflected in this violent tragedy?  I am not proud of what I’ve discovered.  First of all, why does this event, tragic as it was, rise to such a high level of awareness?  Is it worse than the six people murdered every four days in New York City alone?  What socio-economic and/or racial bias makes my heart ache for one tragic event and not others?  Why not the 400 people who die every day of a stroke?  Is that not equally tragic for the victims and their loved ones?  Our world is full of hurt. 

This week, I have listened more intently to my internal dialogue and too frequently there are violent wishes against others.  I am not a physically violent person (although verbal violence occasionally slips from my lips).  Yet sometimes, in my mind, I want to see others suffer for (what in my mind is) their stupidity, carelessness or selfishness.  Is my sin less than those who physically act out their violent and hurtful thoughts? 

The Tucson shooter was mentally troubled.  How many times have I been aware of insurance companies and public servants cutting mental health benefits and services; yet, as a consumer and constituent, I have never protested.  With events like Tucson, there is plenty of blame to go around.  Are people anxious to place blame because once they’ve named a cause for a tragedy they believe they’ve done their part?  That, in itself, is tragic.  I encourage you, with me, to look closely within.  In the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov, “If you alone find inner peace, thousands around you will be saved.” 

This Sunday is Youth Sunday at all downtown services.  Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall; traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch will preach at the west campus, where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.  His sermon is “Make Some Waves,” based on Exodus 14:21-25. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Seek first the Kingdom of God…

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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