By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
Many of you already know that yesterday a deranged young man destroyed the lives of two TV journalists in Virginia. It has been remarked that it is the first Social Media murder ever, since it happened on live TV.
Apparently it was the gunman’s goal to create horror and fear in people and to incite a race war. He deliberately destroyed the lives of his former co-workers and every life that touches theirs, who holds them dear.
Attempting to make sense of the senseless, I called my brother, a much wiser man than me. He put it to me in this way. He said, we all have to build the temple from our end.
It was like an experience he had in Bosnia in the service. There were people in tanks destroying a bridge. They were not able to appreciate the functionality and beauty of the bridge, were jealous of the artistry of those who created it, and in their jealousy and resentment, unable to produce a work of their own as beautiful, they chose to destroy and tear down that which others had built.
That is what I think encapsulated the mind of this person who murdered those innocent journalists in Virginia yesterday. A former TV journalist himself, he was never able to enjoy the same success as that of his coworkers. Unable to emulate their success, and unwilling to do the hard work on his own, he chose instead to tear down others.
The Bible tells us, “Do you not know that you are God’s Temple, and the spirit of the Lord dwell’s within you?” My brother put it to me this way. You have to do the work to build your life as a temple of God. You are building your end of a great extension bridge that leads to God. And God is building the bridge from the other end. It is futile to focus on the beauty of the bridges or temples of others. While you can appreciate the work of others, you have to work on your own. It is useless to try to tear down the bridges and temples of others and will only lead to your own destruction.
My brother’s daughter plays the flute, and plays it beautifully. He goes to her concerts and listens. He tells me he will never play the flute, but he appreciates the artistry and skill it takes to play a piece of music. I have seen some magnificent things in my life, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Israel, the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Cairo Museum, Mesada. In Germany I walked through a great museum dedicated to work made completely of porcelain. I will never have the skill to create such artifacts of beauty. I’m not supposed to. But I can appreciate the hard work and skill of others. I’m supposed to be working on my own temple or bridge, such as it is.
In many ways the individual who committed those awful murders is not unlike the Taliban, or Isis today, who are tearing down the things that others have built. They don’t believe in the gods of others and so they cannot appreciate the artistry and beauty. In 2001 the Taliban destroyed the beautiful statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Today Isis is tearing down the monuments of others in Syria and Iraq. Moreover, they are destroying the lives of others who are not like themselves, Christians, Yezidis, and even other Muslims. Unable to build the temple from their end, they have to pull down the walls of others. Ultimately they will only destroy themselves, as this young murderer has done.
In the Bible there is a story about the city of Jerusalem. There was no wall around the city to protect it from invaders, and so the people were instructed to build their own portion of a wall, nearest to where they live. Everyone pitched in and built the wall, and so it got done much faster than if it had built by a crew of workman, and everyone had a hand in its construction. We all have a role to play in building the wall around our city. We must each concentrate on doing our part.
In our lives we may only lay a few stones in our temple or bridge, and that’s ok, because God is doing the vast majority of the work anyway, from His end. We won’t meet him in the middle; we won’t even make it a quarter of the way. But we must lay as many stones as we can in our lifetimes, and allow God to do the rest.
If you are building a temple, why would you let things that are unclean enter? That is what this young man did. Described as a troubled gay, black man, he let hatred and envy into his heart. He was fired over two years ago because he was impossible to work with. Feeling he was wronged apparently, he chose to destroy the lives of those he perceived had wronged him. Unwilling to build his own temple and to continue to work to build his own life, he tore down what he had built and what others had built as well. Envy, hatred, a feeling of victimhood destroyed him. We shouldn’t let it destroy us. We have to make our own temples clean so that the Lord will want to dwell within us and complete the work that we are helping Him with.
I challenge you to build your temple and to hold in your heart the lives of the people touched by this tragedy. Pray for the families, friends and coworkers of the dead, so that they can feel our love for them, so they won’t be burnt up and destroyed by their grief.
This weekend Glenn Beck and company are marching in Birmingham, Alabama. They are marching for unity in a time when the whole country seems to want to tear it all apart. I think we should pray for him and for the people who march for peace and love that the people who want to tear down and burn and create enmity between us are not successful.
Build the temple from your end.
1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NIV
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
Jeremy Griffith at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem 2008