The call was supposed to be a fun, happy, and merry exchange of season’s greetings between old friends who are physically a long way away from each other. The story that began to unfold disturbs all of us in ways that will take a long time to unfold because it is not over. Without going into the specifics the highlights include the following.
A person we had all met in the hallways of an apartment building as he went out to walk his dog is dead under questionable circumstances. He was young, full of life, and often living on the edge.
A person well known to us, a casual friend of a friend to me, but closer to those close to me, is accused of murder. Innocence is claimed however there are huge holes in his story that cause confusion and raise concerns to those who would like to stand beside him and lend support.
We all know people who live on the edge and fight for survival. We hear that “angry people stir up a lot of discord; the intemperate stir up trouble,” (Proverbs 29.22) but rarely do the words strike close to our hearts. I have heard them in the past and casually moved on, confident that they did not apply in my life or anyone around me. This assumption was clearly presumption on my part.
I now know those accused of murder, others who have served time as convicted felons, and still others who have broken the trust of those closest to their hearts. The relevance to me is the blunt, harsh, and very real reality that we are all human. Nobody is totally innocent, not one! Just because I haven’t spent time in jail or been present when crimes were committed means nothing if the acts of “self” were on display.
What does this mean? I need God’s gifts of compassion, mercy, and restoration more than I need life. I am not alone; we all need these gifts and helping each other is what Christmas and life is all about.