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The sad truth about the shooting of the former NFL player Will Smith.

The sad truth about the shooting of the former NFL player, Will Smith.

I have read a lot of people’s comments and opinions on the shooting. The blame for the tragedy is placed anywhere from gun violence to road rage; from self defense to selfish aggression. How those things come into play, seems to be the direction that most have taken to explain this tragic loss of human life. However, what these commentators have missed is the deeper truth behind occurrences like this. All of the mentioned factors may have had a part, but they certainly are not the root cause of the tragedy. And in the comments that I have read, no one has pointed out the underlying heart issue, they have only found external sources to blame. That is why, I wanted to take a moment to speak towards the core reality, which leads to moments similar to these.

First, let me tell you a story that happened to me. Some time ago, I pulled out of a house on rte 5, and apparently did so in front of a motorcycle driver. I did see him, but I recognized that he was pretty far back, and I had more than ample time to start out on the highway without him even having to slow his pace. As I proceeded down the road, he caught up to me very quickly. I mean, excessively quickly; which was only possible by him traveling at a far higher rate of speed than I had imagined, and that the law would allow. So a short time later, when I had to stop at a red light, he pulled up next to me, and proceeded to express to me (with quite the colorful choice of wording) why I was a low life automobile driver, and he and his two wheeled godhead demanded more respect from me. (BTW, I like motorcycles, and do believe that “looking twice” is a good idea!)

So here I sat, at that corner, with many options for how to respond. Now, as any human would, I felt my blood begin to boil. In my mind I knew for a fact that I was in the right, and this guy was arrogantly trying to blame me for His own stupidity. How should I respond? Someone needs to put this arrogant so and so in his place, right? Well, following is what really happened. I paused, probably gave quite the confused expression, and then said this. “I am very sorry about that.” That was all I said. At which point, the motorcycle driver gave me quite the astonished look! It became apparent that he had been in this position prior, and quite enjoyed the confrontation that normally came with it. But suddenly all he could muster up to say to me once the astonishment subsided, was, “well, ok then.”

So what is the moral to the story? What was the one thing that could have gotten in my way, and caused that situation to go down a road that it didn’t need to? It wasn’t a gun, it wasn’t aggression, and it wasn’t self defense or road rage. It was pride that needed to be held in check. Simply put, pride is the core human trait that launches us into tragic human destruction more than anything else. And by the way, pride doesn’t always culminate into the physical death of a person. In fact, rarely does pride show its ugliness so boldly. More often than not, it does it damage in the mental, emotional, and spiritual destruction of both its victim and perpetrator, without ever making the six o'clock news. Sadly prides destructive nature rarely gets even a moment’s notice, but the damage that it does is the root cause of many tragedies.

Now just to get the record straight, I am far from perfect when it comes to correctly handling my pride. There are way too many times when I would be more likely to tell that jerk where to go---get what I mean ;-). But the lesson that we need to learn from this is that pointing to the external sources of a tragedy, and attempting to curb them, will never take care of the root problem that is destroying lives all around us. We need to focus on properly understanding and handling our pride. That is when we need to turn to God to give us a correct viewpoint on matters, and ask Him to correct our pride issues. Here are a few verses worth knowing and applying.

  • Philippians 2: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant

  • II Corinthians 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

  • Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

  • II Corinthians 10:17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Again, the only way to prevent tragedies like this (and many others), is to get a Godly handle on our pride. Let’s allow these verses to dictate who we are, in all matters of life!

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