Sunday, January 26, 2014


While having coffee with a friend of mine last week, he shared with me a personal experience that he had while running and what the word "Amen" really means. As the repetitive nature of running is often conducive to simple thought, he began to ask what place the word actually has in our prayer and communion with God. We utter the word almost instinctively in conclusion of a prayer or use it when discussing something that we approve of. But how many of us have ever stopped to meditate on what the word really means? This got me thinking and my thoughts came to fruition this morning while listening to a conversation in Starbucks.

Two young men were having a discussion revolving around the recent execution of Edgar Tamayo in Huntsville last week. From the details, words and phrases of their conversation, I could tell that they were Christians. And I quickly came to the conclusion that they not only approved of the execution, but seemed to be somewhat joyful that this man was dead. As the conversation began to wind down and it was clear that their discussion was about to change gears, one man declared with finality, "Well, he's finally dead and that's one more illegal alien scum bag that we don't have to worry about anymore."  His friends response? "Amen!"

Amen. Think about that for a moment.  

The word has a Hebrew origin and basically means "so be it". It has developed in Christianity to express strong agreement and confirmation of the context of the prayer. With the declaration of "Amen", one is expressing that all that has been prayed for, asked for or uttered with thanksgiving, is being agreed with in the assumption that God approves, agrees and accepts your words as being in union with His perfect will. One could make the argument that from our perspective, prayer in it's purest form is uttering the words of God, assuming that His words would be the exact words that we offer to Him.

"Well, he's finally dead and that's one more illegal alien scum bag that we don't have to worry about anymore." 


My goal is not to debate the moral grounds of the death penalty or defend my personal beliefs. The argument can be theologically and Biblically defended from both sides of the issue. There are strong opinions from both perspectives and if approached from love and humility, I respect both views. But as with most issues within Christianity, my concerns rise more from the heart that guides a person to reach a certain perspective, rather than the complexities of the issue itself.

The conversation that I overheard this morning really had nothing to do with support or opposition of the death penalty. Obviously, these two men supported the capital punishment and I respect their freedom to hold that belief. What I don't support is the apparent hatred of this man and the celebration of his death, rather than isolating their emotions to his actions. What I don't support is the "amen" that God would somehow celebrate an execution, preceded by a pattern of death by a man who God loved as much as He does you and I.

We live in a dark world and a culture that sometimes seems to be consumed by death. We witness evil and the results that come from evil actions. Unfortunately, we do not always have complete control of what our eyes see and what our hearts ingest. We process what we experience, filter the information and emotions and decide how we will outwardly react. We can choose to allow our pain to cause us to react with anger and hatred, thus perpetuating the cycle of pain for others. Or we can choose to shut down the cycle, healing what has been broken and loving when it's hard.  Our emotions can lie, but they can never keep us from externally expressing truth. What would that look like? How would our culture change?

Can I get an amen?


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