Faithfully yours - The value of a life


Neil Stohschein

Neepawa Banner & Press

As I write these words, the investigation into the recent Toronto killings is on-going. A 25 year old male suspect has been arrested and charged with 10 counts of first degree and 13 counts of attempted murder. A 14th charge, police say, may be laid soon.

The suspect is accused of using a rental van to deliberately run down the victims. Pictures of the van, the suspect and the crime scene have been posted on the internet, published in newspapers and broadcast on TV; bringing a huge outpouring of sympathy for the victims’ families.

At this point, we know what happened. Police believe they know who did it (remember that in the eyes of the law, a person is deemed innocent until proven guilty). What no one knows is why; and until the case goes to trial, there is no point in speculating. The full story, whatever it may be, will be revealed when the accused has his day in court.

That being said, there is one general observation that can be made. Any act of murder, no matter what may have motivated it, shows a callous disregard for the value of a human life.

Nothing in God’s creation ever comes into existence by accident. God has a plan and purpose for everything he creates. He sees infinite value in every living thing; but especially in people.

No two people on this earth are exactly alike; not even identical twins. God has given each of us a unique blend of skills, abilities and talents which he expects us to develop and then use in the service of others. And he has placed you and me exactly where he wants us to be—in the right town, on the right street, in the right workplace and within the right groups of people so that we can accomplish the tasks to which we have been called and for which we have been gifted.

What God does for you and me, he does for every other person on this earth. That’s why mass killings like the one we witnessed in Toronto are so disgusting. Those who deliberately choose to take the lives of others show complete disregard for the lives they take and for the God who created them as people of great value; people who are to be treated with dignity and respect.

Nothing they can say in their own defense can ever justify their actions. No amount of remorse can restore the lives of their victims. We can only hope and pray that their families will find the hope, help and healing they need from people will genuinely love and care for them.

As for you and me, the best thing we can do is to ask God to help us see the people around us as he sees them—as the unique persons they are—and to do all that we can to help them reach their full potential. That is what God asks of us. Nothing less is good enough for him.

Our actions may not make the front pages of this newspaper. In fact, they may well go unnoticed by everyone except the people we support and encourage. But if each of us could be a positive influence in the life of just one person, our world will be a much better place in which to live.

Most importantly, God will take note of the things we have done; and one day, when we stand before him (as we all will) we will hear him say: “Well done; good and faithful servant.”