When I heard the news I was floored. How could a pilot intentionally fly a plane into the mountain in the French Alps? And the tormenting final minutes the passengers endured–the agonizing attempt by the main pilot to get into the cockpit. It’s unthinkable. The experts are hard at work trying to figure out what could have motivated copilot Andreas Lubitz to kill himself and 149 others. Thirteen of the passengers were exchange students returning home from a year-long stint away from their parents. It is gut-wrenching.
What was going through his mind? We will never know the details, but we do know his human condition. And though we don’t like to admit it, apart from Christ we share that same human condition:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 ESV)
Notice the qualities of the mind set on the flesh. Death. Hostile to God. Unable to submit to God’s law. Unable to please God. Lubitz adds his name to a list of people who fit that description. Saddam Hussein. Adolf Hitler. Osama Bin Laden. Kim Il Sung. Joseph Stalin. And, believe it or not, you–before Christ.
I know…it takes my breath away too. Our capacity to sin is only limited by God’s grace to save. What Lubitz did pains me, breaks my heart, and makes me angry. And I’m saddened to say that things I have done have pained me, broken my heart and made me angry.
Today, pray for the families of those who died.
And thank God for his grace–grace that saves us from doing the unthinkable.