Live Like Molly Day – 2021

NOTE: This is a revision of a post from August 2020. You can access the original post here


It may be the worst fear of every parent – to be awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call telling you your child has been in a car accident.

For my friends Doug and Doris Griffin, their worst fears became reality in the early morning hours of February 22nd, 2015 when they received news that their 23 year old daughter, Molly, had died earlier in a fatal car crash caused by a drunk driver.

I cannot even imagine the searing pain and unthinkable grief that one experiences as a result of such a tragedy.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m hurting and experiencing extreme emotional pain, I’m not a generally kind person. I remember a pastor once say that “a wounded animal is a dangerous animal.” It’s true of people too. When we’re wounded emotionally, we can be dangerously unkind, hurtful and even volatile to those around us.

Amazingly, my friends Doug and Doris, when first confronted by reporters regarding the tragic death of their daughter, did not respond as you might expect.

Doug wrote about his experience in the book Defining Moments: Coping With the Loss of a Child. In the chapter titled “Molly Day”, Doug wrote,

As word spread and people started showing up at our house, it came rather quickly to me that I had to forgive the driver. Even before knowing any details. I wish I could say that by my willpower and through some courageous act I made this decision. But that would be a lie. This time, perspective came quickly calling through the Holy Spirit: “Do you not remember driving as a young man while intoxicated yourself? Did you not come within an eyelash of dying in a car accident yourself when you were 22? Are you not commanded to forgive in order to be forgiven? And what is it that you hate more than anything? Hypocrisy.”

Later, when the first reporter showed up at their house, Doug said that the first words out of his mouth were, “I just want you to know that we have forgiven the driver.”

In this era of cancel culture and vigilante mobs who demand immediate and swift justice, what would compel a person to so quickly forgive a person they’ve never met, who’s committed an egregious crime and taken away one of the most precious things we love? This response does not seem natural, as evidenced by the reporter’s shocked expression.

Indeed, Doug and Doris’s response WASN’T natural….it was Supernatural!

Doug continued his explanation to the reporter:

“You see we are Christians and we are commanded to forgive. Did you know that Jesus forgave the very men who murdered him from the cross? If he can do that, I can forgive the driver.”

Doug also admitted that he “didn’t want to become known as the angry father who screamed for retribution or revenge.”

Later, when the time came for the driver to be sentenced, Doug and Doris were in the courtroom. California law requires that judges allow anyone who was impacted by a crime be allowed to speak at the time of sentencing. When it was Doris’s turn to speak, she pushed through the pain and the grief and expressed her forgiveness to the driver. Then Doug spoke. He writes,

…as I then rose to speak, I fought through the tears, I shared with
the drunk driver what I was sure Molly would say: “You took my life, you nearly killed my friends and you hurt every person I ever loved…And I forgive you.

(Side Note: You can read my related blog post about cancel culture and Forgiveness here.)

How does one move on after losing a loved one? As Doug asked, “how do we lean into this unceasing grief?”

Many people will do something to try to preserve the memory of their loved one. Some may set up a scholarship fund. Others may set up a charitable foundation. Doug and Doris opted for a different avenue to honor Molly’s memory and legacy.

Thursday, August 26 will be the 7th annual “Molly Day”!

Doug writes, “I told Doris that we needed to celebrate Molly’s life on her birthday and not focus on how she died. I said we needed to have an annual Molly Day. Doris, with a little help from her friends, took my idea and put it on steroids. She turned it into #LiveLikeMolly and came up with the perfect way to honor her: perform acts of kindness for others to establish her legacy as the kind, loving, wonderful person she was.”

And so every year in early August, we get a postcard from Doug and Doris that reminds us of Molly and her birthday. This Thursday, August 26th would have been Molly’s 30th birthday. Instead, it’s the 7th annual “Molly Day”, where those who knew Molly and those who have come to know her story are encouraged to #LiveLikeMolly by participating in random acts of kindness to those around them.

I wish I could say that I live EVERY day like Molly Day, but I don’t. I’m selfish and I often just think of my own needs instead of others. But this Thursday, I invite you to join me in “Molly Day 2021”. Use the hashtag #LiveLikeMolly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share your stories of something kind and unselfish that you were able to do for someone else.

Together, we can help honor the memory of Molly while at the same time providing small moments of cheer and joy, something I think we all could desperately use right about now!

 

#LiveLikeMolly

Further Proof that Jesus is God

Titus 3

3Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.

4But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. 5He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. 6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. 7He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life. 8These things I have told you are all true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone. (Titus 3:3-8, NLT)


The Daily DAVEotional

“The Bible never claims that Jesus is God!”

Perhaps you’ve heard someone make this claim. The argument essentially says that the Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus is God, but teaches that Jesus is something less than God, such as “Son of God”, or “Son of Man”, or “Messiah”, or “anointed one”, etc.

Because the Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus is God, then Jesus must not BE God and therefore, the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus is divine must be false. Hence Christianity is false.

But is it true that the Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus is divine?

No.

The evidence for the deity of Jesus is overwhelming and generally falls into three categories: 1) Direct claims of deity that Jesus made – I covered one such incident here.  2) Passages that show Jesus has attributes that only God could possess and 3) passages in which Jesus’ followers clearly identify Jesus as divine. This passage in Titus is one such example.

Jesus’ divinity is not hard to demonstrate from this passage and only a basic understanding of logic is necessary to prove that Paul believed and taught that Jesus was God.

Verse 4 says clearly:

“But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love.”

Verse 6 states that:

“He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did.”

So in one verse, Paul refers to God our Savior, while just two verses later, he refers to what “Jesus Christ our Savior did.”

These two verses show that God is Savior AND Jesus Christ is Savior. Therefore, Jesus Christ is God.

There are dozens of other passages that demonstrate that Jesus’ own followers saw him as divine and even worshiped Him. Keep in mind that for the Jew, worship was reserved for God alone. Therefore, when a Jewish person worships Jesus, they are doing so because they believe He is God and therefore worthy of worship.

This one passage may not be enough to convince your non-Christian friends that Jesus is indeed God, but it should help convince you. Jesus not only made direct claims of deity but His followers also ascribed deity to Jesus and promoted their understanding of Jesus’ nature to others.

Reflection

What has been your understanding of the nature of Jesus? In what ways have your views changed or been substantiated?

In what ways do you find the above logic regarding proof of Jesus’ divinity convincing? In what ways are you not convinced?

If you are not convinced that Jesus is God, what are your reasons for not believing? Conversely, what basis can you give to support the idea that Jesus IS God?

Why do you think it matters whether a person has a correct understanding of the nature of Jesus? What are the consequences for having a wrong understanding of who Jesus is? (For my thoughts on these questions, see my posts here, and here.)

 

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

A Must-Read Passage Before Posting on Social Media

2 Timothy 2

23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. 25They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26, NLT)


The Daily DAVEotional

If there was ever a passage that should be required for Christians to read before engaging with others on social media, this might be it.

Obviously, Paul did not have social media in mind when he wrote these verses, but there was definitely an issue that was creating some controversy and division among members of the church because Paul writes these same words (“avoid godless and foolish discussions”) four times in his two letters to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:7; 6:20 and 2 Timothy 2:16, 23).

The controversial issue that Paul was addressing was likely a heretical teaching circulating locally that was causing needless arguing and debate among believers.

The key verse, in my opinion, is verse 24, which states that, “The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people.”

If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media over this last year, you know that kindness, gentleness, civility and friendliness are not words often used to describe the typical interactions people are having. Indeed, quarreling seems to be the norm.

In short, people on social media are often not kind. In fact, many people, including Christians, are the exact opposite of kind. What I mean by this is that it seems that many people engage in social media in a way that appears to be purposefully confrontational.

We are living in extremely difficult and polarizing times. The events of the past year, including Covid lockdowns, mask mandates, economic uncertainty, racial division, protests and riots, as well as the build-up and aftermath of our national election, have all contributed to a growing sense of anger and unrest.

Nobody wants to be overlooked or feel marginalized. We want our voices to be heard and our opinions to matter.

Social media is the digital town square for the 21st century. Therefore, in order to use our voice, we can feel a strong urge to engage in discussions that are happening on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media forums.

But what happens when we engage in those forums and people disagree with us? Or worse yet, what happens when others call us names or marginalize us or even ridicule us because of our beliefs?

The natural reaction is to respond in kind. We want to be right and we want to “prove our point.” But Paul is urging us to be patient with others and kind in our interactions.

Admittedly, this is difficult to do in some cases. But we represent Christ to those around us. Therefore, we have a duty as believers to act in a way that Christ would react if he were posting for us.

Reflection

In what ways have you engaged in “foolish and ignorant arguments” in  your interactions with others?

What topics or hot buttons cause you the most difficulty in being patient with difficult people?

What steps can you take to be more kind and gentle towards others in your communication?

 

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Live Like Molly Day

It may be the worst fear of every parent – to be awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call telling you your child has been in a car accident.

For my friends Doug and Doris Griffin, their worst fears became reality in the early morning hours of February 22nd, 2015 when they received news that their 23 year old daughter, Molly, had died earlier in a fatal car crash caused by a drunk driver.

I cannot even imagine the searing pain and unthinkable grief that one experiences as a result of such a tragedy.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m hurting and experiencing extreme emotional pain, I’m not a generally kind person. I remember a pastor once say that “a wounded animal is a dangerous animal.” It’s true of people too. When we’re wounded emotionally, we can be dangerously unkind, hurtful and even volatile to those around us.

Amazingly, my friends Doug and Doris, when first confronted by reporters regarding the tragic death of their daughter, did not respond as you might expect.

Doug wrote about his experience in the book Defining Moments: Coping With the Loss of a Child. In the chapter titled “Molly Day”, Doug wrote,

As word spread and people started showing up at our house, it came rather quickly to me that I had to forgive the driver. Even before knowing any details. I wish I could say that by my willpower and through some courageous act I made this decision. But that would be a lie. This time, perspective came quickly calling through the Holy Spirit: “Do you not remember driving as a young man while intoxicated yourself? Did you not come within an eyelash of dying in a car accident yourself when you were 22? Are you not commanded to forgive in order to be forgiven? And what is it that you hate more than anything? Hypocrisy.”

Later, when the first reporter showed up at their house, Doug said that the first words out of his mouth were, “I just want you to know that we have forgiven the driver.”

In this era of cancel culture and vigilante mobs who demand immediate and swift justice, what would compel a person to so quickly forgive a person they’ve never met, who’s committed an egregious crime and taken away one of the most precious things we love? This response does not seem natural, as evidenced by the reporter’s shocked expression.

Indeed, Doug and Doris’s response WASN’T natural….it was Supernatural!

Doug continued his explanation to the reporter:

“You see we are Christians and we are commanded to forgive. Did you know that Jesus forgave the very men who murdered him from the cross? If he can do that, I can forgive the driver.”

Doug also admitted that he “didn’t want to become known as the angry father who screamed for retribution or revenge.”

Later, when the time came for the driver to be sentenced, Doug and Doris were in the courtroom. California law requires that judges allow anyone who was impacted by a crime be allowed to speak at the time of sentencing. When it was Doris’s turn to speak, she pushed through the pain and the grief and expressed her forgiveness to the driver. Then Doug spoke. He writes,

…as I then rose to speak, I fought through the tears, I shared with
the drunk driver what I was sure Molly would say: “You took my life, you nearly killed my friends and you hurt every person I ever loved…And I forgive you.

(Side Note: You can read my related blog post about cancel culture and Forgiveness here.)

How does one move on after losing a loved one? As Doug asked, “how do we lean into this unceasing grief?”

Many people will do something to try to preserve the memory of their loved one. Some may set up a scholarship fund. Others may set up a charitable foundation. Doug and Doris opted for a different avenue to honor Molly’s memory and legacy.

Doug writes, “I told Doris that we needed to celebrate Molly’s life on her birthday and not focus on how she died. I said we needed to have an annual Molly Day. Doris, with a little help from her friends, took my idea and put it on steroids. She turned it into #LiveLikeMolly and came up with the perfect way to honor her: perform acts of kindness for others to establish her legacy as the kind, loving, wonderful person she was.”

Wednesday, August 26 will be the 6th annual “Molly Day”!

And so every year in early August, we get a postcard from Doug and Doris that reminds us of Molly and her birthday. This Wednesday, August 26th would have been Molly’s 29th birthday. Instead, it’s the 6th annual “Molly Day”, where those who knew Molly and those who have come to know her story are encouraged to #LiveLikeMolly by participating in random acts of kindness to those around them.

I wish I could say that I live EVERY day like Molly Day, but I don’t. I’m selfish and I often just think of my own needs instead of others. But this Wednesday, I invite you to join me in “Molly Day 2020”. Use the hashtag #LiveLikeMolly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share your stories of something kind and unselfish that you were able to do for someone else.

Together, we can help honor the memory of Molly while at the same time providing small moments of cheer and joy, something I think we all could desperately use right about now!

Use the hashtag #LiveLikeMolly to share your stories of how you are able to bless others!

#LiveLikeMolly