Exactly one week ago today, on Monday, April 16, 2007, a tragic thing occurred. A 23-year-old man by the name of Cho Seung-Hui gunned down 32 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself. On the same morning as the shootings, he mailed off some audio visual material to NBC that he had prepared. NBC decided to air some of that material. NBC was criticized by some for having chosen to air it. However, I have viewed some of this material and I find it to be “revelatory” to say the least. If you watch this material with an open heart submitted to God, I think you will find that the predominant problem this man was facing could be described by the following words (these really “jump out” when you watch the material):
Cho was angry. He displays this very easily. He was angry at the world.
Cho was envious of the people around him. He was not included in their “games”. He felt like “the man who was left out”. His basic problem was envy. He did not learn to be content with what he had. He failed primarily in having a thankful heart. If you lack a thankful heart, you will develop a heart of envy. This naturally will occur. The ONLY way to conquer envy is to start giving thanks, and to develop a thankful attitude for ALL that you have been given in life – including the trials and the tribulation.
Cho felt rejected. His focus was on what others felt of him. He was not focused on God, who loved him and sent his son Jesus Christ to die for him. Rather, he was focused on what he thought other people thought of him.
The “profile” of this man demonstrates he was very bitter because he was unwilling to speak when people greeted him in the hallways, suggesting he was holding a grudge. Generally speaking, if you have a forgiving attitude, you will speak with others. But if you are unforgiving, then you will be unwilling to talk. Cho chose to be “bitter” instead of “better”. He should have chosen, however, to have been “better”. He should have opened up a bit to those around him. They were not such bad people after all, but he “painted a picture” of them as “bad” and “menacing”. In the end, it turned him into a murderer. The man stands condemned because he was unwilling to forgive.
Cho is not justified in his actions, even if people were unkind to him. Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek and to not seek vengeance for ourselves (Luke 6:29). This is something that Cho did not practice. Though he makes himself out to be a martyr, he was far from it. Martyrs are always characterized by their love for those around them. Cho did not at all demonstrate any love; only hate for those around him. His primary motivation was vengeance, and for this he stands condemned. God will “by no means clear the guilty”, the Bible says (Numbers 14:18). So I would not want to be Cho today.
Cho chose not to believe that he was loved by God. He rejected the love of God and chose disobedience, instead. In Scripture, unbelief and disobedience are intimately linked together (Hebrews 3:18-19). If one persists in unbelief, it will naturally lead to outward disobedience.
We have described Cho’s problem. What was Cho’s answer? And what is the answer for each and every one of us in this world?
Cho’s answer was Christ.
Christ is our answer, as well.
Christ had the acceptance that Cho was longing for.
Christ has the acceptance that we are longing for, as well.
Christ has the answer for anger, envy, rejection, bitterness, vengeance, and unbelief.
1. Christ is the answer for your anger problems. Respectfully, tell him how you feel. And cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
2. Christ is the answer for your envy problems. When you stop looking at man, and start developing a heart of thanksgiving for all that you have, you will find that envy will be a thing of the past. I used to be envious of a lot of things. But I cannot honestly remember being envious in twenty years. Christ has simply taken away envy. Who wants to be like another person, anyway? (Do you really want to inherit all their problems?)
3. Christ is the answer for your problems with rejection. Now honestly, I have struggled with this in the last twenty years, but that is because of deep-seated roots of rejection that were based in emotional wounds that I suffered when I was younger. As I learned to pour our my heart and (mostly) feelings of sadness and grief to the Lord at having lost out in so many ways when I was younger, the Lord has time and time again comforted me, and now God is so CLOSE to me, that I now have ANOTHER problem! I wonder why everyone else does not get close to him, as well! And then I REALIZE what it is that has gotten me this CLOSE to God, and it has been the fact that I felt rejected when I was younger, and this forced me to find my comfort in God alone for the healing of my wounds, and so I become GRATEFUL for the wounds that I suffered when I was younger – they have turned out for the better, for sure!
4. Christ is the answer for your problems with bitterness. I have suffered from bitterness, yes even as a Christian. I have not really understood this emotion very well in the past, and it has taken a great deal of probing to really get a handle on it, but basically, the solution all goes back to GIVING OF THANKS. Once you learn how to give thanks, your bitterness will become a THING OF THE PAST. The giving of thanks is also intimately linked with praying for others and interceding for them. When you realize the “power” God has given you in intercession, you become a “powerhouse” for the Lord, so to speak. You are driven to prayer because you begin to see just how effective your prayers really are. There is SO MUCH that could be said here, but I will desist!
5. Christ is the answer for your problems with wanting vengeance. Now vengeance is not something I have thought about for a long long time, but the temptation has surfaced possibly on one or two occasions in the last twenty years. Once again, if you are thankful, you will not want to seek vengeance. I know, it’s hard sometimes. People seem to get away with “murder”. PRAY for people instead of deciding to be vengeful. God WILL deal with them, in his time. I wonder how many people interceded for Cho when he displayed the “tell tale” signs that he did when he was faced with trouble. I have no doubt believing that God could have easily sent an angel to hold back the trouble that was caused at Virginia Tech on Monday if thorough and adequate prayer had been offered up on behalf of this man. But anyway …
6. Christ is the answer for your unbelief. Sometimes, you need to simply CHOOSE to believe! For example, if you feel overwhelmed, the thought may come to you, “I just can’t make it anymore.” If you parrot off that line, you have just parroted off a lie from the enemy (he also had the ability to tempt you with thoughts like this, that appear in the “first person” – thoughts such as “I just can’t make it anymore and I might as well commit suicide”). The origin of thoughts like this are most likely demonic. Now when I say that sometimes you need to CHOOSE to believe, I am saying that even if you don’t “feel” like it, you need to choose to declare the truth of God’s word. So the “comeback” to a thought like that is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Or, if you forget the exact verse, how about just saying, “God, I can do it, because you are going to help me! And thank you Lord, for that help!” You would be amazed at what starts to happen when you start making declarations like that.
In conclusion, do not spiral downward, into unbelief, agony, and despair! Instead, begin to spiral upwards, into a life of victory, based on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Christ died for you with a heart full of compassion. God loves you, and has the ability to make your life work. I encourage you, begin to put into practice those areas that I have discussed above and watch things turn around for the better! The Lord will bless you, and you will be a blessing to others. Who knows, you might even stop a “Cho” one day, because of the profound love that you display and because of the profound effect of your heartfelt prayers for those around you!