We all have seen, read and made personal remarks about the passing of Kobe Bryant on Sunday. The sudden passing of someone so well-known and loved is always emotional. The late night talk show guests were canceled, NBA games postponed and sports channels talking more about his passing than football in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. He was that big of a cultural figure. I don’t follow the NBA, but I cannot escape the gravity of the moment. I’ve watched as celebrities and fans pay their respects and the numerous news outlets that try to fill in the details of how it happened. What fascinates me is the emotional response by people toward a person they have never met. I can understand the athletes and celebrities that knew him but how can someone you never met cause such an emotional response in so many? I see this same phenomenon in reverse when people talk about politicians. How can someone have such anger for someone they never met, who in most regards, has no direct impact on their life?
Out of all the articles I have read, one made me think about the situation more than the others because it was precisely what I was feeling in this emotional climate we find ourselves. Jared C. Wellman is pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas and he approaches this with the optimist Biblical view. He breaks it down into three reasons; we grieve because celebrities influentially display God's image in man, we grieve because we're reminded that death doesn't discriminate and finally, we grieve because of unfulfilled hope -- and share the hope within us. http://www.bpnews.net/54225/firstperson-why-we-mourn-celebrities-weve-never-met
All three of these are true and hopefully the majority of people see it this way. But I think there is a fourth reason and it goes to explain why the intensity of emotion can go both ways. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Verse 5 tell us that the reason our heart deceives us is that it draws strength from flesh and turns away from the Lord. In other words our natural tendency is to be led by our heart and not what we know to be true in our head. We know that the things of the Lord are better than the things of this world but our emotional involvement cause us to do things we normally would not do. Like passionate love or hate for someone we have never met. That is one of the reasons why so many people can cite religious conviction as they praise or slander another. Proverbs 13:16 tells us: Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.
The loss of Kobe or anyone that losses his or her life so young is a horrible thing and Christians should pause and be reminded about how brief life is and how important a relationship with God is on this earth. (I read where he and his daughter attended church that morning https://www.khou.com/article/news/national/kobe-and-gianna-bryant-went-to-church-before-fatal-crash/285-72216aa7-4c88-4709-973c-9af480c18a89 I’m prayerful that he knew the Lord!) It’s also a reminder of how important our personal witness is to others. What are you doing today to have a positive impact on someone else? We treat others with kindness not because they cheer for the same team we do or vote the same party; we do it because they are fellow humans, created in God’s image and loved by Him. If you know that to be true then what are you doing today, on purpose, to make sure others know it too?
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2
Serving the Savior
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