Today a friend directed me to the story of Bill Zeller, a young computer programmer who died from injuries he sustained in trying to kill himself. So in the end, he was successful.
He left behind a 4000 word essay, which I’ll admit, I couldn’t get all the way through. It simply hurt too much.
I mentioned it around some friends, and one said, “I guess he closed the program…” and laughed. He wasn’t meaning anything by it, but none the less I told him it wasn’t funny. It bugged me. And I knew that I could have just have easily made such a comment.
Our disregard for life… it’s sick. We are an ungrateful and numb society.
We prey on each other in the worst and most subversive ways.
We are the brunt of each others jokes… and we really don’t care.
There’s always a reason to shrug it off. “Lighten up!” “It’s all in fun” “Don’t take life so seriously.”
But can we shove our excuses aside? Can something be sacred. If we pick just one thing, may I propose ‘life?’
It occurred to me earlier this week that I’ve grown up with the mentality that you don’t give to those who don’t deserve it. You don’t give handouts to people who haven’t earned it. You don’t hand money to a guy who’s only gonna buy beer with it. You don’t treat jerks like nice guys.
I don’t know where this came from. Maybe it’s just part of the sick way we humans think. It certainly all comes down to protecting what’s mine and neglecting what’s yours. But wherever it came from, it’s wrong. Dead wrong!
So here’s where I go getting religious. To those who hate this stuff, I’m sorry, but I can’t change who I am. Christ reached in to my life and saved my life. I’m not talking about saving me from hell. I’m talking about actually saving my life… my physical life.
I was inches from suicide. I wanted to die. I hated everything that was me. I felt like a plague on my wife and kids. I felt like a vampire sucking the life out of others to keep myself alive.
But God the Father in His glory and mercy reached into my life and saved me. He brought me into a real and living Church that actually strives to live out and be the hands and feet of Christ… and I felt Him hug me, love me, and lift my head so that I could walk again.
Well, He gave it to me, and blessed me with a grateful heart so that I could give it to you. To everyone that I see.
No other reason than that.
I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t do anything to merit this attention to the creator. He just gave it to me.
This guy, Bill Zeller. He described himself quite a few times as angry and mean. He describes himself as the kind of guy many of us would walk away from and avoid. Now, I don’t know if that’s accurate, it may not be. He actually sounds like a sweet guy who was dealt a very very bad hand.
It doesn’t sound like he ever got to meet Jesus. Not the ‘confess-your-sins-and-say-this-prayer-jesus’ that doesn’t actually change anything in your life, but the Jesus that walks, talks and holds you in your pain. He touches your face and you know that He loves you. He looks into your eyes, and you look back, and know without a doubt that you could leave anything behind so that you can follow Him wherever He goes.
The living, breathing savior that isn’t just in a book but truly brings light and life into your life, and SETS YOU COMPLETELY FREE!
This is the Jesus that I met and chose to join. And this is obviously the Jesus that never got a chance to meet Bill Zeller.
or maybe He did…
Maybe you’re a part of that Jesus, but you forgot the gift of life that was given to you. Maybe you, you who call yourselves the Body of Christ (and I’m pointing the finger at myself just as much here) maybe you saw a guy like Bill in a fit of rage in the checkout line. For a split second, you contemplated stepping in to offer a hand, but then the thought occurred, “That jerk doesn’t deserve my time!” and you walked away with your conscience clear.
Maybe you saw him on the side of the road, talking to himself, and for a second thought of giving a ride… maybe buying him a burger or something. But then, you remember that he needs to learn to take care of himself. You wouldn’t want to enable him to keep being a bum right.
But you didn’t notice the darkness. You didn’t see the thoughts surrounding him. You didn’t hear the voices screaming in his or her head, or see the memories of rape, pain, tragedy and suffering in front of their eyes.
You, me, we… miss the real person and their pain.
We will continue to miss it if we don’t start disposing of our predisposition to protecting ourselves and reach in to a dangerous mind and plant the seed of love. Just like Christ did for us.
If we claim to be His followers, then there really is no other road. It’s not an option. He said that the world would be blessed through us, and He even went so far as to say that we would do greater things than He did if we believe in Him and follow His commands!
Can you believe it? I know that I have a hard time with it… but it is truly who we as the Church are made to be. We’ve been given a gift of life and love from the Father, and that compels us to give it freely to everyone that we see and touch.
God, please give us grateful hearts
Please change our minds to not just see faceless creatures, but your beloved children everywhere that we look
Please God… help us be like you
Help us to truly understand that there is no greater love than to lay down our lives and get uncomfortable with a new friend
God, please give us the grace to be like You