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Nothing is more valuable or sacred

When I was 12 years old, my closest friend was Darryl, age 11. We did everything together that we could, and we often could be found at each other’s homes, playing football, basketball or something in the yard.

It was a simpler, more innocent time. At least, we thought it was.

Darryl died that year as a result of a car accident. The car crested a hill and Darryl was on his bicycle in the wrong part of the road just out of sight from the driver. It was no one’s fault, really, but it changed his family forever.

It changed me, too.

No matter how old you are, the first time you’re hit with the reality of your mortality it is a punch that lands hard. It should make you value life more.

This morning my wife showed me some short videos online that she knew I’d enjoy. They were clips of babies and toddlers laughing.

That’s probably my most favorite sound in the world, after the voices of my children. Such innocence and wonder displayed in unrestrained joy, bubbling out naturally from a child.

It’s easy to forget the horrors of situations and people who would rob children of their innocence.

I read an article today, too, about a pastor who was arrested because he knew of two men in his church raping minors, and did not report it. The two men, a father and son duo, had already been apprehended. The same article mentioned that the church’s previous pastor had hung himself years ago after being found guilty of some of the same behavior.

It’s not just men, though, and certainly not restricted to religious entities.

Tuesday, a woman shot four people in the California headquarters of YouTube before turning the gun on herself. At the time of this writing, she had not been publicly identified — nor had her motives.

Several women were arrested in the past week for abusing vulnerable people in a senior citizens facility. A child shot his sister in the head because she would not let him have a turn playing a video game. Men and women — even children — attack each other over the least provocation, and lives are irreparable damaged, destroyed, ended.

You know of plenty of examples. And I could keep going, but for mercy’s sake, won’t.

Where does all this hatred and apathy come from? Any good psychologist or psychiatrist will probably tell you that it starts from deep within. Our actions are born out of our thoughts and beliefs.

Somewhere along the way, humanity in general bought into the lie that life is not sacred. Blame it on whatever you like.

A carpenter in ancient Israel said that good or bad things that come out of us originate in our hearts.

Rarely do these actions come from people who have not spoken something similarly destructive previously. The carpenter was speaking specifically of our words coming from the wells of our hearts. And an ancient Hebrew proverb says a person is defined by what they think, by their thoughts/beliefs.

We know that’s true.

It starts with anger that’s not dealt with properly, but is instead stored up or misdirected, mishandled. It becomes snide comments to other people, often on social media platforms that people somehow forget are public, and linked permanently to their names and reputations.

Some of that develops into what’s now called “cyber-bullying.” Some develops into violent actions.

I can’t dictate or control what other people do. None of us can. But I certainly can control what I do. You can control what you do.

You can. We can. We should.

Life is sacred. That means we should treat each other as valuable, priceless, irreplaceable. Not worthless, without meaning or purpose.

Only love and a new attitude can change our minds and hearts. And in all my years of searching, I have only found that heart-changing, mind-changing, life-changing power in one place. And it comes from someone who did something amazing for us.

“For God so loved the world …”

Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.