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I have personal experience which I think serves this topic, and so that’s why I’m going to comment on it. Before I do, I’m going to ask everyone’s indulgence because:
1) It’s going to be long, but I’ll try to make it reader-friendly as possible
2) It’s going to be God-heavy. Why? Because my beliefs directly influence what makes up my thoughts, my opinions, and what helps to make up who I am. If that offends anyone, I ask that you please forgive me and again, try to indulge me.
I think the meat of the argument here is based on personal responsibility. What is that responsibility ultimately to be? Well, in John 13:34-35, Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” He also said for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Who is our nighbor? Here (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2010:25-37&version=NIV), His example of the nighbor was the parable of the Good Samaritan. Then, there is the story of the rich man, and Lazarus (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2016:14-31)%20&version=NIV). It teaches us that God does not favor the rich over the poor, but an important point is often missed. The rich man’s dissent toward Lazarus was not founded upon his greed. It was founded upon the condition of his heart. This condition is the exact, very same condition where every harmful and destructive act finds it’s root: At the love of one’s self above all others. That’s where sin begins. It’s not founded at greed. It’s what created that greed. It’s not murder. It’s founded at what the condition of one’s heart was, which lead to that murder. It’s not founded at theft. It’s founded at the condition of one’s heart which lead to the covetousness, which told the theif he deserved what somebody else had, before he took it from someone else, and the pattern continues.
Okay, well I’ve set the ground work for my personal story. Like a lot of other people here I’m sure, my childhood was no picnic. The result of that was me, an ADHD/OCD (yes, literally) kid looking to cover my heart’s need for love with distraction from entertainment, and my fondness for people who I admired. Who here remembers Raymond Burr (Perry Mason)? I really, really liked him. He was so grandfatherly! I remember recording Perry Mason mysteries on VHS tape, and keeping them in a library. I was such a fan! Well, I began to pray for him. I asked God to save him (salvation), to bless him, and well, I prayed for him every night. This isn’t a bad thing, we should be praying for everybody. One night, I came home from the grocery store with my mother, when my step-dad told me the news said Raymond had terminal cancer. I was absolutely crushed. At the time, I was pentecostal (I’ve married a Missouri-Synod Lutheran), and was taught that if you had enough faith, God would do anything, and everything you ask him to do. I thought that if I prayed hard enough, and long enough, if I could have enough of that faith to believe that God would do this for me, that He would heal Raymond. He didn’t. This wasn’t God’s will, and I remember when hearing Raymond had died. This was a horrible experience for my faith. I’d never felt so empty. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but will say that one of the mistakes I made was that I allowed for what God did/didn’t do with Raymond to influence how I thought God felt about me; that I was irreleveant to Him. It was a long time, before I was able to again believe that He loves me. Not just all of us, but me. More than having to do with Raymond Burr, this experience had more to do with me, and my life, and just highlighted unsettled issues I had in my heart which I’d never dealt with. Some, I still have not.
Let’s jump foreward through time to adulthood. My Dad, and step-mom. Like what somebody else here wrote sometime back (another topic), my family is a mess. My Mom and step-dad split up several times, and my step-mom was verbally abusive (something my Dad didn’t care enough about us to do anything about). I felt so hopeless growing up, but when she and my Dad got married, she called us her new daughters (me, and my sister). There were some good sides to her. She wasn’t always screaming or belittling. She gave us the impression that she appreciated our company, that we had relevance and legitimacy to her, and that she appreciated our relationship with her. Twenty years later, one day, she called and told me she didn’t love my Dad anymore. She’d filed for divorce. Because of her own feelings, her marriage was expendable. Her family was expendable. Her grand-daughter was expendable. The feelings of others were expendable. This was two years ago. I think I’ve spoken to her twice since then. I forgive her, but our relationship has been forever damaged because of this choice she made. Narcissism is a generalized personality trait characterized by manipulation, egotism, vanity, conceit, selfishness, or lack of empathy. That’s what this was. The first time, I made a mistake of thinking this was how God felt about me. I was wrong. He had something to teach me. This time, my step-mom was guilty of narcissism/self-love. The emotional consequences of her choices had no meaning to her, but this time, I didn’t let the choice that somebody else made define my value. I may have had no real value to her, but I do have value to God.
Let’s jump forward again. Our church had a semi-member, who would come to town for 6 months (he was a snow-bird), and then go home to Minnesota for the remainder of the year (that’s where his church membership was). He was not real well known by many of the people in our congregation, but he was well liked, and especially so by the few people who had been able to get to know him well. He had an “admirer” (who was also a friend) in our congregation who had a terrible shock a couple of weeks ago. I’ll call him “R”. “R” had a girl friend, and had moved to Arizona. He had been in a car accident, and had been killed. None of us knew about that, until our Pastor received a message from his niece in Minnesota. Giving our Pastor some credit, he is relatively new, and had never met “R”. “R” hadn’t been in town much over the past couple of years. At the end of a sunday service a couple of weeks ago, in the prayers, he mentioned a request to God that he bless “R”‘s family while they grieve his death. The person in our congregation who cared about him so much…the grief she had was just terrible. It was like somebody ripped her heart out. Nobody from his family had called her. What that did to her…seeing the result of that, it was painful to watch after seeing the look on her face. It was like somebody ripped the soul right out of her and stomped on it. It wasn’t just the shock, and it wasn’t just the grief, but it was the hurt she had that nobody cared enough to tell her about what had happened. She’d never been able to prepare herself. My heart just broke for her. “R”‘s family never perceived what their decision to not tell anybody would do to someone else, but those consequences were very real, very painful, and very present for this lady. If they had known what not contacting these people would have done; what they would have left in their wake, I don’t think they would have made that same choice if they could have understood the human result of their decisions.
Now, let’s defend the other side of this matter. I don’t know that there is anything other than a broken foot/leg/finger/ego/whatever wrong with Colin O’Donoghue so as I continue, please don’t read into this as assume I’m suggesting that he has cancer. I’m just using cancer as an example.
How would you feel, if your loved one happened to have a position of notariety, and was diagnosed with a terminal illness? You, and your family have had to share this person with the public for a long time, but now your family needs time to grieve and adjust to the idea of loosing someone who you know, and love more than any fan ever could. How would it make you feel, if you knew that your loved one’s peace might be interrupted while having to keep looking over your shoulder fearing that newspaper tabloids, paparazzi, “adoring” fans, and others would take away what should be time for your family to spend some prescious last moments with someone who you are going to loose? That would be horrible! Does that mean that these people don’t have any responsibility toward the public? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. I guess what I’m saying is that a responsibility for empathy, and for consideration flows in both directions.
Our world has a big problem these days. We just don’t love eachother. In fact, I’m not sure that some people have the capability to love anyone. Instead of judging people, regardless as to how/why, how much of a difference could be made in our lives if we all tried to direct our passions and priorities outward, from ourselves? Love is something we just don’t have enough of. I know that may sound 60’s-ish, flower-childish, and kumbaya, but in an age where narcisissm is “in”, real love is dying away. The evidence is everwhere. If Colin O’Donoghue has something going on, does he have a moral responsibility to consider others outside his circle, and how the decisions he makes will impact someone else? At some point, yes he would, but on the other hand, we have an equally important responsibility to give him, and his family the same privacy, respect, and consideration we’d ask for ourselves.
I don’t know what is going on, or whether it’s even worthy of mention. What I can suggest is this. If you are concerned for him, take it to God! God gave us all a couple of wonderful gifts. Firstly, we can take our concerns to Him. Yes, we have been told that He feels we are important enough to Him, that we can take our concerns directly from our heart, to God. Another free give is free will. That means some people will act the right way, and then that some people will act the wrong way. God tells us how to treat other people in His word. We have the freedom to tell him no. Doing that will come with consequences for others here, and for us later, but he does give us the choice. Maybe Colin will respond the right way and then again, maybe he won’t, but don’t let what he does, or doesn’t do define you, or how you think God feels about you, or how much he cares about the matters on your heart.
I hope I didn’t put anybody to sleep with the novel I just wrote. I do hope it helps to highlight some perspective though, and not for any one point of view, but in both directions.
Treat eachother right, with love, and with respect. Today, at some point, try something new. Do something out of grace (not because you have to, but because you want to). Try doing it for a perfect stranger. Try it again, tomorrow. Keep a record of how it made you feel, and what the impact was on that other person. It’s good exercise for your heart.
A saying I’ve seen before: Grace is like a boomerang. When you toss it out into the world, it will always return to you. God bless, everybody.
“God doesn’t look at how much we do, but with how much love we do it.” — Mother Theresa