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Utoya

July 26, 2011
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As I write this I am still trying to imagine the magnitude of the tragic events that happened this past week in Norway. In reading some of the stories, the perpetrator’s motives are attributed to beliefs he calls ‘Christian’. 

I wonder how the message of Jesus ever got so distorted that someone would think killing 76 people, terrorizing dozens more, and inflicting such grief on friends and relatives would ever be an act condoned by Jesus. I’m not sure whether I am more angry or embarrassed by him being labeled ‘Christian’. From the little I have seen, it may be one more example of what happens when we try to help God set up His kingdom here according to our design and desires. 

But before I too eloquently pontificate on the way such evils acts by others slander the cause of Christ, I must stop and ask myself, “What am I doing that distorts Jesus’ message to the world?” Do I always speak kindly of others? Do I share the abundance God has given to me? Do I act in ways that brings life to my friends and community? If my life were the illustration, would people recognize Jesus in me? 

While geographically far removed, this incident can still challenge me to rededicate myself to embodying the principles and values called for by Jesus. He was passionate about His beliefs. In His determination to fulfill His mission, Jesus laid down His life so that others might know life. Yet in the gentleness of His grace, Jesus only invites people to follow; He never forces them. Jesus told us to use blessings, not bullets, even with our enemies. Dare we dream of a headline, “Community Saved” where the story documents the hero/heroine gave his/her life because he/she was a follower of Jesus. 

Lord, help us to live in a way that reflects your ways.

Map: Public Domain, taken from Wikipedia, Utoya encircled in red

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