Weekly Awful - The Worst of 2016

Some of the worst stories you could ever imagine are found in the Bible. From gang-raped, dismembered concubines to children eaten by their parents, the Word of God is certainly colorful in its teachings. Then again, that's the point. The greatest lessons come from the greatest mistakes. We would do well to observe our world with an equally critical eye.

This year had no lack of awful stories, the worst of which made a mockery of death. Below are the Weekly Awful's Worst of 2016 winners. Let wisdom increase as we study the terrible things said by stupid people.

#3 The Twin Tower Mattress Sale

Taking the bronze is a Texas company called Miracle Mattress. They produced a commercial announcing their "Twin Tower sale" before toppling two towers of mattresses and ending with a tepid "We'll never forget".

Imagine a People's Gas commercial--set in Auschwitz. Or an ad for atomic clocks in Hiroshima. Clever associations are designed to invite laughter and evoke positive emotions towards a particular product or service making consumers more likely to purchase them. Making those associations with tragedies, however, produces the opposite effect.

The World Trade Center saw 2,606 casualties, including firefighters and law enforcement. Using this as the setting for a mattress commercial is like trying to do stand-up at Arlington. Better, it's like dancing on a person's grave and then asking for money.

Profiting off of tragedy makes you no different than grave robber. Death is never an occasion for solicitation, nor is loss an invitation for others to gain. To the contrary, it's a time for empathy and an opportunity to share in suffering. Humble yourself and keep your selfish desires away from the hurting.

#2 The "More Should've Died" Pastor

The runner-up is Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento. In a Sunday evening sermon, he told his congregation that they shouldn't be sad about the recent shooting at an Orlando nightclub, and that the real tragedy is that more gay people weren't killed.

It's one thing to take advantage of the dead and another entirely to desire more of them. Of course, it's true that God desires justice and sometimes justice requires death (i.e. Jesus), but it doesn't follow that God then desires death.

Whether or not you think God was judging Orlando (for the record, he wasn't), he took no pleasure in the deaths of those 49 people. I know not under what pretense we feign righteous blood lust but it is not holy. There is only one who craves death which means there are many who serve their own enemy.

Desiring death is not unlike worshiping it and he who holds its power. But Jesus freed us from that power and showed us a better way. The way of Christianity is the desire for life and the desire of life for all. Like God, our joy is made full when the wicked repent, not when they perish. Repent yourself, if death brings you joy, as the wickedness you see is within.

#1 George Zimmerman

The winner of the Worst of 2016 needs no introduction. George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, who also retweeted a photo of Trayvon's body while bragging about being a one-man army, attempted to auction off the gun he used as an "American firearm icon".

Those Texans may have taken advantageous of death and that California pastor desirous of it, but Zimmerman's glorying in murder is tantamount to encouraging others to kill. Jesus never explained what was worse than being tossed into the sea with millstone around your neck, but I imagine whatever it is awaits Trayvon's brash executioner.

Even after he was told by the 911 dispatcher to not pursue Martin, Zimmerman followed him anyway noting, "these assholes they always get away". Even after one gun website refused to host the auction, Zimmerman unsuccessfully tried to get another website to host it while falsely claiming that the Smithsonian had "expressed interest" in it.

Evil people are persistent but false prophets need publicity. Make no mistake, anyone who encourages others to disregard God's law of love (such as unlawfully taking the life of even 1 person) is a false prophet guilty of double condemnation. They will be held accountable for every action taken under their influence. Weep for the mercy you'll never find as your hard heart prevents you from seeing the error of your ways until it's too late.

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