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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Bad Attention"

December 17, 2007

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You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20

Robert Hawkins got his wish. He is famous now.


You do remember Robert Hawkins, don’t you? Last week, 19-year-old Hawkins killed himself. Of course, he knew taking his own life wasn’t enough to make him famous. That’s why Hawkins went to Omaha’s Westroads Mall and opened fire on holiday shoppers and killed at least eight people.

So, Robert Hawkins is famous for now. In a few days, he will fade into obscurity, and a month or two from now, the only people who will remember him will be some police psychologists and the families of those bystanders he murdered. Those few mourning families will remember Robert Hawkins for a very long time.

When I decided to use that story for a Daily Devotion, I knew there were a number of ways it could be shared. For example, I could talk about how we should be prepared for the unknown hour of our death, or I could speak about loneliness and what it does to people. Both would have made for good devotions.

Instead, I wanted to quote one of my parochial school teachers. She said, “For children, bad attention is almost as satisfying as is good attention.” She was right, you know. All of us desire to be noticed, to be acknowledged, appreciated, and applauded –to feel we have made a difference. If we can get those things in a positive way, well, that’s great. But if we have to do something bad, for many, that’s all right, too. This is why Robert Hawkins killed so many people. He couldn’t get good attention, so he settled for the bad.

It’s a shame Robert Hawkins didn’t know there was Someone who had noticed him and loved him. To the Savior, Robert Hawkins was a special person. He was a person so unique, so worth saving, Jesus was willing to leave heaven and be born into this sin-stained world. So that Robert Hawkins might be saved, Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose. If Robert had believed that, it would have made a difference to him.

Of course, we can’t change things for Robert or for any of the other people who died in that Omaha shooting. What we can do is reach out to those other unnoticed souls around us who want to know they’re special. We need to tell them, “Jesus loves you and He wants you to know He gave His life so you might be forgiven and saved.”

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, be with all of those who mourn. Comfort those who are lonely. Send Your Holy Spirit upon the lost so they may be brought to faith and realize the depth and intensity of Your love. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 84, 90    Revelation 9

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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