CARROLLTON, Texas (BP)–The May 8 religion section of the Dallas Morning News carried a “debate” concerning whether God expected Cassie Bernall to confess that she was a believer, which was suggested may have led to her death at Columbine High School.
Biblically speaking, the answer is an emphatic yes.
First, the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, tells us that the truth is expected from us. The truth is, Cassie Bernall was a believer.
Second is the example of Christ himself. He could have denied his mission and the fact that he was the Son of God, and he would not have been crucified, but where would that have left the rest of us?
Third is the example of the early Christian martyrs, who all ran when Christ was on trial but after the resurrection became bold witnesses for Christ as Lord. Each of them died a martyr’s death, providing convincing evidence that Christ really was who he said he said he was — the Savior of the world.
Fourth, Cassie would have lost her influence completely if she had denied that she was a believer. Because she said yes, she has directly influenced a number of people in her community and perhaps many others around the world to commit their lives to Christ.
Fifth, Cassie’s murderer had, in all probability, already decided to kill her since his hatred of African Americans, athletes and Christians was known.
Sixth, in Luke 12:8-9, Christ said, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Further evidence is found in verses 11-12: “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Christ himself intervened, giving Cassie the answer she spoke.
Other evidence is revealed in Luke 22:60-62: “But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying,’ and immediately while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”
Please note all Christ did was look at Peter, but his eyes and expression must have said, “Peter, how could you deny me after all you have seen?”
Seventh, while Cassie’s parents today are grieving heavily, as are her friends, their grief carries the comfort in the full knowledge that Cassie is spending eternity with Christ and is infinitely better off than she was with those who loved her so deeply. They take comfort in the fact that Psalms 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed, and in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them.” Our death date is determined long before we’re born.
In Isaiah 57:1-2 we find comfort in the fact that “the righteous pass away, the godly often die before their time, and no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come, for the godly who die will rest in peace.” In short, God sees around the corner. Only he knows the evil that Cassie would have faced had she lived.
Speaking personally, we lost our oldest daughter just four years ago and we find great peace in knowing that our daughter is with the Lord she loved so much. I am confident Cassie’s parents find much peace in knowing with certainty that their daughter is also with the Lord. Suppose she had denied her faith, what impact would that have had on her parents and other believers?
Grief is a long-lasting companion. The Bible tells us that God collects our tears in a bottle and there is no known benefit for withholding our tears. We simply do not “get over it,” nor do we bring “closure,” as some members of the media suggest.
In Job 2:13, we find wonderful advice for comforting those who grieve: “Job’s friends silently sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights, for they saw that the suffering was too great for words.” Your very presence will comfort the parents and often the friends of those who died. A hug, a touch, a shared tear can be very helpful. Mourning is godly. Matthew 5:4 says, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” You do not “get over” grief; you do work through it.
For the Christian, grief is much like going through a long, winding mountain tunnel. Even when you can’t see the light at the end, you know it’s there, so you continue to move forward — not on your own strength and will, but on the promises of Christ, who through his shed blood has given us victory by taking the sting out of death.
He who is truth promises us that one day we will see him face-to-face. In that glorious moment our grief will be over and our rejoicing will be eternal. Then, and only then, do we bring closure and experience the peace that passes all understanding.
That’s why Cassie’s Christian parents can grieve over her death but rejoice because she is in her heavenly home with Christ, and his Word assures us that one day they will be with her forever.
Ziglar is an author and motivational speaker based in Carrollton, Texas, a former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a member of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas. A book by Misty Bernall, Cassie’s mother, titled “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall,” is scheduled for release Sept. 10 by Plough Publishing House.