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Friday, December 14, 2007

Sean Taylor, RIP

Sean Taylor, RIP

On Tuesday, November 27th, the news of Sean Taylor’s death hit the Washington, DC area hard. Taylor was an up-and-coming, all-pro safety for the Washington Redskins. Just 24 years old, this young man had his entire future in front of him. Although he had some troubles with the law several years earlier, he had put those issues behind him and was on his way to a great NFL career when he was shot by four young men who were attempting to rob his home. It was a tragedy indeed, not just for Taylor or the Washington Redskins, but also for the four young men.

I’ve seen those young men before. No, not those particular young men, but young men of the same mold headed for prison, or worse. For more than 20 years my wife and I have been involved with Youth for Tomorrow, a home for at-risk boys and girls, founded by Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs. A man with strong faith and true compassion, Gibbs wanted to do something in the Washington area to help turn around the lives of young men (and young women) who fit the general description of the four boys who shot and killed Sean Taylor. 

Who are these young men? Well, the ones who come to YFT have a hard edge. Many, if not most, have been involved with drugs, both using and selling. Some have been involved in car jackings and drive by shootings. They’re angry. They don’t have a good male role model, and they are without hope. At Joe Gibbs’ Youth for Tomorrow they learn to shed their anger, they live with good male role models, and they gain hope and faith. It’s too bad that YFT didn’t get to those young men before it was too late. Unfortunately there are many more where these boys came from, and today girls have the same problems too.

Sean Taylor’s death set Washington, DC back on its heels. We were shocked. We were stunned. Why, we asked, did this happen? 

Death hits survivors like a bucket of cold water. The death of Sean Taylor, or any loved one, brings us back to reality. It forces us to focus on our own mortality. The tears we shed may be for the one who died, but there’s nothing more we can do for Sean or anyone close to us who has died. More likely, the tears we shed are for our self. We too must eventually face death.

I used to joke that if you can multiply your age by two and think you will still be alive, then you are young. I’m long past that calculation. In fact, it really was just a joke, because all of us know of friends and family that die young. But whether we die young or die old, we will die. 

And since the actuarial tables show that the average person only lives to his or her 70s, we know that our time will come. More importantly, since we will be dead forever, don’t you think it’s worthwhile to at least give some thought to where you will be spending eternity?

Perhaps you’re an atheist or an agnostic and you think that once you are dead that’s all there is. That is what the gamblers in Las Vegas would call a high risk bet. The trouble is that while you may think the odds are that you are right, if there is even the slightest chance you are wrong, the downside is horrible and irreversible. 

Even if you believe in some vague God, don’t you think it’s worth your while to try to find out who that God is? As for me, I believe that Jesus is the Christ who was promised in the Old Testament. I believe that through faith in Him I will spend eternity where there are no tears and no troubles. I’m 100% convinced that He died for my sins and rose victorious from the grave so that I too can rise and live again. You’re going to be dead forever. Don’t you think it’s worth checking out the God of the Bible? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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