Monday, 7 June 2010

Derrick Bird

It's Monday morning. I have a call from the local newspaper asking for a comment on the awful events in Cumbria last week. Where do you start? I am sure I could do better than this but this is what I came up with. Wonder if they will use any of this...

The terrible events of the Cumbrian shootings, as well as the terrific response of people in the aftermath is a reminder to us that we are all capable of both great good and great evil. For most of us our actions are nowhere near as extreme but we have all given vent to our anger at some time and we have all been responsible for acts of courage and compassion.

More will probably come out about Derrick Bird’s actions and motives in due course but these tragedies underline what a dangerous thing anger is in our lives. We are said to live in an increasingly angry society but here we see how awful the fallout is if we store up bitterness.

Seeing the awful consequences of these shootings underlines for me why the Bible’s advice to deal with anger before you sleep each night is so sound. Hoarding up grudges does us no good and in more extreme circumstances is literally, sadly, deadly.

The alternative is to deal with anger and bitterness. Forgiving other people is rarely easy. I cannot imagine how long it will be before relatives of victims of these shootings can have some kind of peace in their lives. But the alternative to forgiveness is to be eaten up with bitterness for the rest of your life.

As well as praying for the families and friends of everyone involved we would be wise to drop the grudges we carry around. Our anger will cause less pain than Derrick Bird’s did but we’ll end up hurting others and ourselves if we don’t get rid of it.

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