Saturday, September 21, 2013

This Isn't Right...

Some time ago I had heard of a tragic story of a teenage girl who had committed suicide.  What struck me most about this particular case more so than other such tragic stories was that it happened no more than 10 miles away from where I live.  Even more so, it really hit home when I got a chance to read Nina Burleigh's account in Rolling Stone and realized how I could see the same thing happening at every high school across America.

That's because everyone from the parents of these teenagers, the administration of the school, and the students reminded me so much of my own experiences some 15+ years ago in high school.

Granted, sex, drugs, image issues, and popularity contests are nothing new to high school.  I shouldn't expect much else considering my high school was no different.  Hearing stories of girls giving up their virginity to rumors of abortions and rampant drug use among the popular students isn't anything new... especially in affluent areas.  But something about the particular focus of the cruelty really churned my stomach and fueled the fire of anger within me.

It was the barbarism.  It was barbarism masked in the adolescent proving ground of manhood and pranks. Wickedness without boundaries is a cancer with no defense.

There need not be any proof of human depravity for we see it even today.  People easily forget their place before God and become butchers.  It's been happening for thousands of years.

In the climax of the book in Judges 19-20 we see the callous nature of a Levite when he sends his faithful concubine to the horde of Gibeanites to violate (instead of himself).  After which, the Levite wakes up from a nights rest to find this woman violated beyond his "use".  As a result, he cuts her up into 12 pieces sending them to the 12 tribes of Israel to rally them into retribution for this act.

The problem is, there was no justice done.  The Levite sought to protect his pride.  So he manipulated Israel into civil war over it failing to mention that it was he who offered this women to the savages.

Sin affects a community in profound ways.  Wretchedness like this cries out for justice yet where do you go for justice when those who holding responsibility, respect, and religious authority are so corrupt?

That's the parallel we see here in this modern day tragedy.  Where was the administration in all this?  Where were the teachers who heard whispers of rumors?  Where were the upright Christian students?  Where were the parents?  Where were the consciences of these boys?  Where was the sensibility of this girl to stay away from drunkenness?  The more questions we ask the greater the anger for we know there is something not right with this world...

In the end the greatest questions we must ask is, "How much can one pay until they've paid enough?  What can be done to repair that which cannot?"  Is there really such a thing as "an eye for an eye"?

I would gather not.  There isn't enough justice in this world to satisfy such crimes.  And if there is not enough justice in this world there isn't enough hope in the world to get us out of the holes we dig for ourselves.

That's why we need the Kingdom of God.  I need a hope that comes form something greater than humanity.  That hope can only be found in Christ.

Only one who was fully divine and human can pay for sins.  We need a mediator of such quality to pay such a high price.  The Heidelberg Catechism reminds us as much in Q&A 14-18.

Jesus brings something we need.  He's the solution for sin and such evil in the world.  And that's insulting to many to think that His forgiveness can extend so far.  Yet I tell you it extends even further than that... much further.

At the end of the day that gives me comfort, but more importantly it gives me purpose and a message to preach.  It's a message of identity in Christ.  To know thyself in our sins, but to also see thyself in the light of Christ.  That is what our young people really need.  It's what our parents need to teach in their homes.  It's what our administration needs to embody in the form of intolerance of injustice.

All this to say, I can't save that little girl and I can't forgive those boys or anyone else involved... but I'm not supposed to.  I just point to the one who can.

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