On Pain and Judging

“the loss of children…”

Isaiah 47:8


There was a car crash a few days ago, in Southern California.   Six high-schoolers in one car, and five of them dead.  The news has been reverberating throughout communities around the area, including my own. 

It’s shocking news for several reasons, not the least of which is the severity of the crash, and the number of lives lost.  Young lives.  Potential, energy, enthusiasm… all lost.  One can’t help but think of the parents, the siblings, the schoolmates, the friends…  So many people who can’t help but put themselves in the position of someone affected. 

“That could have been my child…” 

“That could have been my grandchild…” 

“That could have been my friend…”

And there’s nothing any of us can do.  Well, not nothing, I guess.  There are a lot of prayers going up for the one teen still alive.  He has had brain surgery, and is in serious condition. 

And we can talk to our kids and grandkids and siblings and friends.   We can teach them and remind them of poor decisions and their consequences. 

But here’s the thing that struck me today, in reading about the crash:  the headlines that read, “Unlicensed Driver Kills Five”.  The fact that the driver did not have a license is a detail that has been in every account I’ve heard or read of the crash.  And that’s serious.  He most likely did not have the training to be driving a vehicle at what was possibly a very high rate of speed.  And even if he did have a license, he would not have been allowed to have friends in the car.  There are possibly very serious legal consequences to his actions.

But right now, today, I just kinda felt like it didn’t matter.  He’s currently in the hospital, and I don’t know if he’ll make it.  And if he does, he will have to live the rest of his life with the guilt of what he had done.   Right now, today, it’s all about the lost lives, the hurting family and friends, and the driver’s condition.  I just started to feel like people are more interested in the accusations than in the tragedy.

Maybe it’s because we want to reassure ourselves that it can’t happen to us.  We want to see ourselves in the best possible light, and often that means seeing someone else in a negative light. 

I don’t want to understate the poor choices made by these kids.  But for five of them, it no longer matters.  And for that young man, if he lives, there will come a time for the appropriate accusations and consequences.  And it’s not my, or the gossips’, or the newspaper editors’ place to take care of that.  Just like it’s not our place to point fingers at one another anytime we’re hurting.  Compassion, encouragement, support… and then walking someone through accountability if we’re called to.  And prayers, prayers, prayers. 




~ “having compassion for one another;

love as brothers,

       be tenderhearted…” ~

1 Peter 3:8


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