Cassie and Grace

Cassie Bernall became known worldwide as a 17-year-old student who died in the April, 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. I think that her spiritual journey well illustrates the change that happens when God takes off a student?s dark glasses and replaces them with ?Grace Glasses.? Cassie?s journey to the dark side was much different from Axl?s. Her parents adored her. Each morning her dad would sit on the side of her bed, sing a little good-morning song to her, and tell her, ?Have a good day, Cassie, I?ll see you tonight.? Her dad took her for rides on his dirt bike. They had enough money to buy her pets and toys and nice clothes. But her childhood happiness began to slip away when she got with the wrong friends in the 5th grade, students who dabbled in satanic rituals. Their view of life became her view of life. Very slowly, subtly, over the next few years, the glasses through which she viewed the world became darker and darker till she could not longer see any grace in the world. One day her mom was looking for a Bible in Cassie?s room when she ran across some letters addressed to Cassie from her best friend. What she found devastated her. The friend?s letters were full of occult drawings, spells, excitement about a Satanist church where people had to drink a kitten?s blood to enter, horrific drawings of a man and woman hanging by their intestines and daggers protruding from their hearts. Incredibly, the drawings were labeled ?Ma and Pa,? Cassie?s parents. Her friend was obsessed with death. One of the letters said, ??kill me with your parents, then kill yourself so you don?t go to jail.? Cassie told one of her friends that she was planning to kill one of her teachers. Her parents took drastic action, forbidding her to see her friends, and putting her in a new school. Cassie became obsessed with suicide and would scratch her hands and wrists with a sharp metal file until they bled. She hated her parents. She hated her miserable life. Cassie later wrote these words in a paper for an English class: ?Throughout this time I hated my parents and God with the deepest, darkest hatred. There are no words that can accurately describe the blackness I felt?.? Now think with me for a minute. What is going on here? On the outside, Cassie has a lot going for her. She?s got parents who love her, feed her, and give her things. She?s getting a free education in a great school. She lives in a nice, warm house in a nice neighborhood. Millions of kids around the world would give anything to have what she has. What has happened? (Get some discussion here.) Something has happened inside Cassie?s mind. She has allowed herself to become blinded to the grace around her and obsessed with the darkness. If something hadn?t happened to open up her eyes, she could have very well become one of the murderers at Columbine High. From a biblical point of view, I think we can assume that what went on here was more than just a natural process. Cassie later said that she had given her soul to Satan and felt gripped by the powers of darkness. Her parents couldn?t make any progress trying to talk to her rationally. Her mom came to see that a spiritual battle was going on. She tried to go into Cassie?s room one day and couldn?t bring herself to enter. When she finally did, in her own words, ?I can?t quite describe it, but it felt like you could almost cut the air in that room with a knife, the atmosphere was so oppressive.? She felt for certain that there was more to this than just a rebellious teenager. She began to cry and pray for God to break through. The next chapter of the story is dramatic. A Christian at her new school befriended her and invited her to a weekend retreat in the Rocky Mountains. That night, God broke through to her during a praise and worship service. The change was almost instantaneous. Her dark ?glasses? fell off. After the service, Cassie and a few others began to look up at the stars. They stood there in silence, totally in awe of the God she had once hated. Her parents noticed the change when she stepped off the bus. She had left gloomy, with her head down, saying nothing. She came back bouncy and excited. Listen carefully to her dad?s own words, ?It was as if she had been in a dark room, and somebody had turned the light on, and she could suddenly see the beauty surrounding her.? They saw the smile that had disappeared years ago. She began to love and respect her parents and her brother. Grace had been all around her, but for the first time in years she could finally see it. (Source: She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall, by Misty Bernall, Plough Publishers, 1999) Some of you can probably identify with the dark view of the world that Cassie formerly had. Have you ever wondered why you think that only negative lyrics are cool ? lyrics about death, destruction, hate and revenge? Have you ever wondered why you think all positive lyrics are wimpy and gutless? Maybe you haven?t gone as far to the dark side as Cassie did, but if you?ve become negative and cynical about the world, and you?re not ?happy? unless you?re complaining, you?re on the same path. If you?re on that path, I challenge you, I plead with you to ask God to intervene. Ask Him to break through and open up your eyes. ? Copyright 2002 Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved

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