Only a person living under a rock or just born yesterday has not heard or been affected by the devastating murder spree in Aurora, CO this past weekend. My insides do flip-flops and die just a little more when I hear of scenes like that. Columbine. 9/11. Virginia Tech.
BUT THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT AURORA. IT IS ABOUT SOMEONE I LISTENED TO BEING INTERVIEWED.
It was 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made their way into Columbine High School and eventually began what became known as the Columbine Massacre. Included in the dead were two female students, Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott. Rachel was the first one killed, having been shot 4 times while sitting outside. Rachel’s father, Darrell, and brother (Craig) later spent a lot of time traveling around talking about Rachel’s Challenge. The other night, during a broadcast of the Aurora tragedy, the hostess talked with Craig about Columbine. Craig admitted to her (and to the world) that while he made appearances with his father, he was being eaten up by anger for Eric and Dylan. He related how he finally came to grips with it and released his anger, quoting the old adage:
“Forgiveness is when you free the prisoner and realize the prisoner was you.”
I confess that is not word-for-word so please don’t quote me. However, I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I saw a young man (now age 29) tell the world that anger and hatred will ruin a person’s life. It puts a person in a prison that has no physical walls. I think a prison in our spirit can be even more devastating than one of four walls and a locked door. The guard opens the cell door. Only a person willing to let go of hurt and anger can open the door of his own making. Let me rephrase that: a person willing to let go of hurt and anger can allow the Holy Spirit to release him from the prison of his own making. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Does Craig have no thoughts anymore of Rachel and the loss of his sister? I highly doubt it. But his freedom came when he forgave Eric and Dylan for killing the one student who never turned her back on Dylan. I thought of that interview when I read these words again from Bob Goff:
I used to think there were some prisons you couldn’t escape, but now I know there’s no place I can go where God can’t rescue us.
Craig found that release from prison. As Bob says, “God pursues us into whatever dark place we land and behind whatever locked door that holds us in. “ (p.181) We all have dark places. We might all have locked doors in our heart. God pursues us there, not to beat the door down, but to lift us into freedom…the freedom of His love, His grace, His purpose, and His life.
Do you find yourself in prison from anger and hatred? Do you have a story to tell how God brought you out of one? I’d love to have you share it in the comments.
This is a post on my ongoing series based on Love Does by Bob Goff.