Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: March 12, 2012                          
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Luke 23:34
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.  

If you’re familiar with the shootings that occurred at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio on Monday February 27, 2012, you might still be reeling in disbelief. It was just an ordinary Monday morning for many of us who live here. We got up and we went about our business as usual. We never imagined that shortly after 7:30 a.m. our “usual” would be rocked by tragedy. Five students were shot at the hands of another student, three fatally, and two are still recovering both physically and mentally. This senseless act will forever change the landscape of these families and our community which is now referred to as the Hilltoppers with “One Heartbeat.”

I have never been more proud to be a part of this city. It is breathtaking to watch so many people allowing God’s love to pour out of them in order to help others. Everyone is hurting and these senseless shootings are hard to process. However, I have no doubt that if we continue to be the light within this darkness, healing will take place, and God’s will for His people will prevail. If you haven’t seen the pictures follow this link.

As many of us work through the grief and disbelief of how five students could be shot in cold blood, one particular response to the tragedy has stuck out in my mind. The following is a short excerpt from an interview with Demetrius Hewlin's mother. Demetrius was better known as “D” by his friends. He lost his life that day from a gunshot wound to the back of his head. May we all find a sense of peace from “D’s” mom Phyllis Ferguson?

"I don't know what [his] final moments were like, but I can't worry about it," Demetrius' mother Phyllis Ferguson told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "You have to accept things done and move on."

When asked what she would say to the suspected shooter, Ferguson said, "I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don't know what they're doing. That's all I'd say."

"I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine. You have to forgive everything. God's grace is new each and every day," she said. "Until you've walked in another person's shoes, you don't know what made him come to this point."

"God knew what he was doing. It's not for my understanding, but mine to accept and remember him as he was," Ferguson said.

Friends, Phyllis words have really caused me to personally meditate on the example of her faith. If this was my child, would I have her attitude? Would I understand that my child was returning to his rightful owner? Would I be able to forgive the one who took his life? Could I see the shooter as just a boy who made a really bad choice? Would I get that I have an opportunity to be light to others within my own personal pain? I have no idea if Phyllis Ferguson realizes this or not, but that is exactly what she did through speaking these words deep within her own pain. May God grant her a continued peace that surpasses all understanding. May she get to experience joy in her fond memories of her boy.

I truly believe that Phyllis has it right. In another interview she expressed that “she only has enough room in her heart for Demetrius.” She was trying to help people understand that if she lets garbage in such as bitterness, anger, hatred or unforgiveness towards the person that took her son's life; it would crowd out that special place reserved for her son’s memory. I pray a hedge of protection over her heart and mind. I pray that nothing will ever be allowed to penetrate what she has reserved for her son.

To those of us who are now onlookers to the after affects of this tragedy, may we adopt Phyllis’s’ attitude. May we allow the God of compassion to fill our hearts with love and concern for those who are still recovering from their injuries? Let’s keep Joy and Nick in our daily prayers. Let’s continue to reach out to their families. Let’s also continue to pray for all the students and the staff who have been directly affected by someone else’s wrong choice. This is going to take them a very long time to process. 

As Christians we also have a responsibility to allow the God of compassion to help us love the boy shooter T.J.  Yes, I said love him.  It is OK that we judge his act of murder, it was wrong!  But as God’s Word teaches us, and as Phyllis has so lovely stated, we should be careful not to judge the boy. We have no idea the darkness inside of him that led him to make the wrong choice. We would be wise to trust the justice system and to leave our personal opinions to ourselves. Let us not forget that the tongue has the power to destroy. We can show love to T.J. by praying for him.  In love let's ask God to save his soul from eternal damnation. My thoughts may be contrary to how you're feeling today, however let's not overlook what God would want from His children. 

We also have an opportunity to intercede for T.J.'s family. Let us not forget that this troubled boy was loved by them, just as we love the children in our own lives. I can’t imagine if that had been one of my children pulling that trigger. We raise our children the best way we know how. We attempt to give them proper guidance, but we cannot be responsible for their choices.  I personally know one set of grandparents and they are crushed beyond words. They were doing their best to give their loved one a chance at a better life. They are not responsible for his choices!  It is my prayer that T.J.’s family, especially his siblings and those who love him are treated with respect. I pray they are given an exceedingly abundant measure of love, support and encouragement. And, I desire to allow it to begin with me. I pray we will all look a bit different to the world from up here on the hill of Chardon, Ohio from this day forward. I pray they see Jesus.

We can do this! We can continue to allow LOVE to overflow from this place. Let us not allow anyone, or anything to extinguish our light.

“Forgiveness is one of the most compassionate things that we can do. It is greatly misunderstood and because of this it is rarely given in the truest sense of the word.” -  Charles Henry

For additional help to work through forgiveness issues I have shared an article that has been helpful to me. It is full of great wisdom and I pray it blesses you.  

In Christ by grace,

“And forgive us our sins – just as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”  - Luke 11:4

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