We all know how difficult things are these days; I just got through seeing another dismal report on CNN about the stock market. I’ve also spoken to several church members who have seen their life savings and work dwindle and disappear over a very short period of time. One of them said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Here’s something else I haven’t seen before, a deacon being arrested for attempting to rob a bank. Apparently, this man had a good reputation, loved his family, and gave no outward appearances that he would do something so shocking. He had been experiencing financal problems and did something unthinkable in a moment of panic. Another way of saying this is that he snapped, mentally, and saw no other alternative but this drastic action.

I feel very sad about this situation. I feel for this man, his family, and the church where he belongs. It is very encouraging to see the pastor standing with his deacon during the trial and trying to be supportive during a very stressful situation. These are the kinds of things that can rock congregations to the core, and of course this isn’ t the first time this sort of thing has happened.

It’s easy to offer criticism of this man and what he did, and I certainly wouldn’t justify his pointing a gun at bank employees. He will be charged and have his day in court. One thing we can learn from this sad tale is to be thankful for what we have and be mindful of the sufferings of those around us. It wouldn’t hurt to be more kind and thoughtful in our dealings, and aware of opportunities to encourage those who are struggling. We can’t fix every problem for every person, but we can listen and at times direct persons to sources of assistance.