I wasn’t going to write about this, I’m normally not one to chime in on things like this because it seems too big. Like I’m nowhere near big enough or wise enough or anything enough to do anything about it, so what’s the point in saying anything? The same way I felt 16 years ago when I woke up to get ready for school and felt a strange urge to turn on the TV, something I normally wouldn’t do. And the brokenness that was unfolding before my eyes was so big. There were no words then, and no words as I sat through my classes, and no words as I drove around town. From 3,000 miles away, the world was speechless.
Our world was aching, the same way so many are still aching from the lives they lost that morning. The way our world aches when our brothers and sisters’ lives are devastated by earthquake or fire or flood. The same way our world aches when hatred rears its ugly head so hard and a broken person walks into a school with a weapon and again, I just don’t know what to say. It’s the same way we ached for a friend who lost a wife, and another, a child.
Because even though each source of pain is different, it’s always for the same reason.
Life is precious.
Life is precious, and it’s not because it can be gone so quickly, but because of how deeply we hurt once that life is gone. Because it’s not that it hurts any less whether or not we lose someone unexpectedly, and it’s not any easier to let go of someone who we have shared an entire lifetime with.
Time isn’t what makes life precious. It’s not the moments that are spent on this earth that matter, but the souls that are walking on it.
And as quick as we are to debate everything these days, this is the one thing that unites every single one of us. We feel the pain and the brokenness of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and even complete strangers half way around the world.
It’s the pain that we all feel that makes us fight. It’s why every single one of us, at one point or another, stands up to fight for someone who can’t fight for himself. Whether they are elderly, impoverished, disabled, abused, underprivileged, underrepresented, homeless, hopeless, broken, neglected, or still in the womb. It’s why people protest, why people riot, why we throw insults at one another. It’s what divides families, churches, cities, and countries.
Because to every single one of us, there is someone, whose life is worth fighting for, and we just can’t all agree who.
So why? Why is it that the one thing that unites all of us, is the one thing that we allow to divide us? How long will we point fingers at one another, call each other names, put each other down and fight over whose life is more important? When will we be willing to put down our sticks and stop breaking each other down?
The world is broken enough.
We need to stop fighting. We need to stop comparing. And we have to stop trying to define the value of a human life, because we can’t. We can’t place price tags on one another’s heads, because we don’t value everyone the same. We mourn the loss of some lives more than we mourn others. We will fight for a neighbor, and in the same breath start a war against another, all in the name of human rights. This world is so broken, experiences so much hate that every one of us is guilty of in one way or another, that we as humans cannot possibly be the ones who define how precious life really is.
Our value does not come from us. And if it doesn’t come from us, it has to come from somewhere else.
Life is precious. We all know that. We all feel it. But it’s not how precious a life is that matters, but the very fact that it is precious that should unite us all together.
What this broken world needs is hope.
Hope that its worth is not defined by a country at war, a rioting city, a divided church or a broken family. Hope that its worth isn’t determined by the walls, borders, mountains or rivers that contain it. And hope it can’t be estimated by the opinions, ideas, facts or thoughts that judge it.
Hope for the world that the only way to know how precious it is, how precious each one of us is, is to know how completely valuable we are to the One who created us.
The One who never wanted us to live in a broken world.
The One who values us so highly that he lowered himself into this broken and aching world to be broken himself, so that we could know the hope of eternal life.
So, can we stop trying to make this world a better place by fighting, and start giving the world the one thing it needs?
Those of us who have hope, let’s give hope.
For our brothers who are homeless, or not, Let’s give them hope. For our sisters who have been exploited, abused, or neglected, or not, let’s give them hope. Whether a neighbor is old, young, sick or well, walking this earth or still in the womb, let’s give them hope. Whether they are able to fight for themselves or not, let’s share the hope that we have with a world desperately in need of it. And even if some of them refuse to accept it and continue to hate because they are too broken to see it, let’s keep speaking hope into their lives.
Because life is precious.