This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,–1 John 5:2-3
Last week, a young man in Independence–a young man with problems I can only begin to imagine–called his estranged girlfriend, the mother of his four-month-old child, over to his home where he shot her. With her lying dead in his home, he called her father to report his deed and to announce that now he would shoot himself, which he did.
In the course of moments, two people were dead and an innocent was left orphaned. However, this story did not really develop in just moments. This story was, in fact, years, even generations in the making.
I know enough about the young lady’s life to recognize the obstacles life had placed in front of her. Her mother abandoned her and her three siblings when they were quite young. Her father was a less than terrific role-model. Mom and Dad met at Mom’s work, as an “exotic” dancer. Great stuff, eh?
But then Mom can’t be completely blamed. Her father was in prison during her childhood and she was raised by grandparents who were, apparently, not quite up to the task. And who’s to say that the generation before them didn’t drop the ball in some way?
I don’t offer all these observations in order to beat up on a family that is already reeling from a tragedy. Nobody, no matter what their failings, deserves what happened in Independence last week, and Lord knows I have plenty of failings of my own. Instead, I offer these facts to remind myself, and you as well, that the wages of sin is death. That applies not only in the eternal sense, but in the short term as well. Death, whether dramatic and violent death or a slower, less obvious sort, follows inevitably when people do not follow the commands of God.
Those commands are not burdensome, John assures us. He’s not asking us to climb Mount Everest each morning before breakfast. He’s not asking us to learn multiplication tables up to the 100s or memorize all the former cabinet officers of the U.S.
For this generation and for the next, for those close to us and those we scarcely know, for those who died by violence last week and those whose lives were scarred forever, for the glory of God and the increase of his kingdom, let us put our shoulders into bearing that light burden.