Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beyond Words

In the prime of life. Married with two boys. Leading his country's football team to new-found success & nose-bleed heights in the FIFA rankings. Universally liked, it seems. On the TV the day before, laughing & cheerful. On the phone to his mates hours before, talking of meeting up & making future plans.

It's beyond words to hear of the news of the suicide of Gary Speed, one of the Premiership's most successful players, and now a rising international manager. Beyond words. What happened? What on earth happened?

I guess we may find out. I guess we may never know. I kind of hope we may never know. Some things deserve privacy, whatever our thirst for information & gossip may be.

He was a man. A human being. We are all of us complicated, and more than we seem. We all let some people in when life is great and others in when it is not. We have defence mechanisms that are healthy and unhealthy and we are far, far from perfect.

Gary Speed deserves to have the reputation he had in life survive him in death. His family deserve this too.

One (rather disgraced) celebrity once commented to a journalist who was trying to dig up dirt on him, "Don't fish in an empty lake". People are people. We are not machines. We all have moments we are proud of, and the odd slip-up. Some of our actions are pure and totally well-intentioned and yet others in the same room at the same time may (with or without any particular malice) ascribe completely other motives and swear they know our hearts.

Christianity speaks of One Judge. One Judgement. One Justice. And in the Bible we are given a remarkable picture of it: a picture of God dying in shame upon a cross of hatred, that we might be spared such shame & hatred and instead of these words of scorn and condemnation we might hear hear Jesus' voice asking, "Father, forgive".

This is why it is called Good News. And it is for everyone. Judgement (in God's hands) is about love. He protects the widow & the fatherless, and the reputation of he who cannot defend himself. And we who are Christians should do the same, and stand with those who mourn, that they may be comforted.

It is what we would hope for ourselves. God grant us the answer to our prayers, and make us the answer for others. And bless Gary Speed's family & friends, and his name and memory.

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