A news alert flashed across my phone a few days ago with the following: “James Holmes, suspect in mass shooting at Colorado movie theater charged with 142 counts, including first-degree murder.”
Another grim reminder of how wicked some men can be. To spray an unarmed crowd of innocent bystanders with a hail of bullets is the epitome of evil and cowardice. There simply is no reason for this carnage. It’s just what evil does.
And evil is what some men choose.
But not all men. Some choose love.
In the face of unbridled evil in the darkness of a movie theater, there were selfless acts of love by four young men. These men—Alex Teves, Matthew McQuinn, John Larimer, and John Blunk—all about the same age as the shooter, chose protecting their girlfriends over preserving themselves.
We’ll never know what went through the minds of each of these men when the bullets began to fly, but what we do know is what they did. These four men willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the women they were with that night. They died protecting others so they could live on.
Why? Because, in the words of Daniel Jackson, Matt McQuinn’s stepfather, “That’s what a man does. He protects his loved ones.”
That’s what Jesus taught. After His command to “love each other as I have loved you,” He followed up with this statement: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13).
None of us knows how we’ll react under such life-threatening circumstances. Those who tout “what they would have done” really don’t know. It’s all just talk until the threat is in-your-face real. We can only hope we never have to find out, but we also hope we will be found faithful to serve and protect those we love.
The contrast between the shooter and those who shielded others from his lethal attack couldn’t be more stark. Their acts of love defied his acts of evil. His act was the epitome of cowardice. Their acts were courageous and costly.
Jesus was right. There is “no greater love.”
We need more men like these guys. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed.