Thirty years ago today President Ronald Wilson Reagan was shot by a deranged young man outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. As they walked from the hotel to the presidential limousine John Hinkley Jr. opened fire. President Reagan was shot in the chest and in the lower right arm, he suffered a punctured lung and heavy internal bleeding. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and was left paralyzed and permanently disabled. District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty was hit in the back of his neck as he turned to protect Reagan, he fell next to James Brady and eventually recovered from his injuries. Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy covered President Reagan with his own body and took Hinkley's fourth bullet in his abdomen, he too fully recovered from his wounds.
Six bullets fired, four men shot, a nation in shock.
It was later after this episode that the full value of God's gift to this Country was fully revealed. A lesser man would react in a lesser way, making speeches about the horrors of the second amendment, demand the denial of constitutional rights to law abiding civilians, and completely obfuscate the true cause of the shooting (sin and mental illness) Instead President Reagan chose the path that God demands all of us to follow:
"Getting shot hurts. Still my fear was growing because no matter how hard I tried to breathe it seemed I was getting less and less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for God's help while at the same time I felt hatred for that mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn't that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all God's children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold." - Ronald Reagan's diary entry concerning the attempted assassination by John Hinkley Jr
Immediately after being shot Reagan, lying on a hospital gurney, fighting for breath, chose to put aside his fear and anger and forgive John Hinkley Jr. How many other presidents could you imagine doing that? How many people at all could you imagine forgiving our assailant as our life blood leaks out? THIS is what God demands of us, not megachurches, not rock bands in front of congregations, not chrome ichthys on our car bumpers, but to forgive those who trespass against us.
14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-15)