Dear Ezra and Lian,
Last month, when Lian broke her front tooth off, Ezra let out a big whine, “Why is bad stuff always happening to us?” It took me almost 5 minutes to calm him down. He was way more upset about the broken tooth than Lian, even though it was Lian’s tooth? I told you things were going to be okay.
Two nights ago, I found out my friend and old neighbour, John Murray was murdered. He was killed a block away from where we lived 3 years ago. I found out when both of you were at Pioneer Club. I cried. It is so unfair that John was murdered! You can read the details here http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/5825924-residents-express-shock-over-murder-of-peaceful-pickering-senior-john-pearson-murray/ and here http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/5942131-murdered-pickering-senior-john-murray-bailed-out-woman-now-accused-of-killing-him/
Even though John and I lived very close to one another, I didn’t meet him in our neighbourhood. I meet him the other side of Pickering. For his age, he was very tall; taller than me. Even though John was 80 years old, he used those long legs of his to walk all over this city. He told me how God loved me. John told me that I needed Jesus in my life. In fact, he probably told thousands of people in Pickering that. We chatted for 15 minutes. He gave me a Gospel tract and went to talk to someone else. I saw him do that all over this city.
He was one of the kindest men you could ever meet. As they reported in the paper, “a nice, peaceful man”. He was probably killed by someone he was trying to help. He had lent someone $10,000 bail so that they could get out of jail. Part of that person’s conditions of release was that they stay with John. It seems that same person killed John. John had a reckless faith. He would help anyone in need or trouble. I was shocked to hear that John was murdered. Yet, I wasn’t surprised that he died because he dared to love others. Every day he would go out of his way to tell others about God’s love.
John told me that after his wife died a number of years ago, he would tell as many people as he could about Jesus before he himself died. He said he knew he didn’t have much time left.
Why do good people die while doing good things? Often it is because this world will destroy them for that very reason. That’s a tough thing to tell a kid, but it’s true. The bad that happens to us is not a punishment. Sometimes it means we are doing the good that no one else dares do.
John is an inspiration to me. The Jesus he worshiped was killed unjustly at the age of 33. Jesus said His followers can expect worse. Don’t let John’s murder or any other tragedy stop you from doing good. To love is to risk getting hurt badly. I chose to love you no matter the cost. I choose to love others, no matter what happens.