First Baptist Church of Herndon

681 Elden St., Herndon, VA 20170-4722, Phone 703-437-3620

Piece of the puzzle

Linda Soller | Jul 03, 2017

I want to tell you a true story. One night a group of teens was walking between their place of worship and a fast food location. A passing driver and a member of the group get into a verbal altercation. The driver leaves the car and chases the young people with a baseball bat. The driver caught one teen and started beating. The teen is put in the car. The driver is later arrested and the body of the teen is found.

At this point you are thinking how terrible, how wrong, what is this world coming to? You may have noticed that I left off all the labels. Labels are simply descriptions we give to help us understand and put the pieces together. They are the borders of the puzzle. We must focus and persevere to fill in the middle. The goal in completing the puzzle, is to figure out how to prevent such a horrible tragedy from happening again. I am certain anyone reading this would agree it should never have happened.

Unfortunately, when I add the labels, the very things which help us find solutions, I am also adding the very things that often lead to prejudices and skewed justifications. As Christians, we must learn to see past the labels and go right to the heart of our puzzle, not an easy task. We are only human, we say.

I want to tell you a true story. Very late one night in a very diverse suburb a group, of about 15 Muslim teens, was walking between the mosque and a fast food location. A driver and a member of the group, not the victim, got into a verbal altercation. The driver, an illegal alien of Hispanic dissent follows them then leaves the car and chases the young people with a baseball bat. One teen, a seventeen-year-old girl, is caught and the driver starts beating.  Her puts the teen in his car. The driver is later arrested and the body of the teen is found, brutally beaten and dumped. For now, they call it “road rage.”

What is going through your mind now? Be honest, for God already knows. No matter how it’s labeled, it’s still a senseless act, a tragedy. The labels may have triggered other conclusions in your mind, but the facts of the story remain. Our human nature wants to explain things. We desire reasons.

I trust God to use this tragedy as a teaching moment, a lesson in what it means to be Christian, a taste of humanity at its finest in response to an example of humanity at its worst. The other teens in the group will live the rest of their lives wondering, what if? Her parents will forever wonder, why her? But for the rest of us, this is a chance to show love. Her high school friends set up a vigil and the community came. Her local community center set up counseling and the community brought support. The churches addressed the tragedy in their sermons. The leaders of the mosque saw hope in the outpouring of love they felt. The world will never know the wonderful things this young woman might have done. The least we can do is add her piece of the puzzle with conviction. Is her piece the one which will help us complete the puzzle and end the anger and violence? We will never know if we don’t try.

Make a difference this week!    :o)  Linda

Dedicated to the memory and legacy of Nabra Hassanen.