Burn victims don’t die immediately from their injuries

Instead they die weeks later, a painful series of skins grafts over limbs that look like rotisserie chicken.

Psychological injuries, though harder to see, are no less severe.

And burns can come from not just extreme heat, but extreme cold.

Someone once gave me their only remaining picture of their grandfather so I could make a portrait. He made me promise not to lose it. But that’s exactly what I did.  I ran away, hoping to never confront him.

Another friend started a software company with me. Even moved to California and worked at Yahoo! so he could build his coding skills. He died in a motorcycle accident, through no direct fault of my own. But I remember I had a hand in it. And it’s only once of two times that I’ve cried in the last 20 years.

His name was Chris Rummel and he put full trust in me. When he needed cash, I withdrew $20,000 from Bank of America that afternoon and gave it to him. Out of honor, he insisted on giving me his car. I refused at first, but eventually relented. So he rode his motorcycle to work and that’s how he died. I never forgave myself for not fighting harder, as that voice was warning me weeks before the accident that this would be a mistake.

Have you burned other people, either through extreme heat or extreme cold? Unintentional or not?

Fix it before it’s too late.

Consider where people have trusted you. Do anything to keep your promises, no matter what.

My Christian friends will say that the blood of Jesus covers all.  Full stop. As a child of God, you can move on from your past as a new creation.  Forgive yourself. All true.

But if you’re really changed, you’ll want to make things right. You can’t shut out that voice completely– call it your conscience or Holy Spirit, you pick.

Don’t be that weekday drunk who goes to church on Sunday morning. Don’t let church be a car wash for your sins where you can get as dirty as you please, knowing you’ll get a free wash every Sunday– unlimited.

Don’t fake holiness and passionate Spirit-filled living to please someone else. Living two lives will catch up with you, when the doors of the burn unit burst open with bodies you’ve tried to hide.

I could tell you more stories of how I’ve failed over and over in ways that would make you think I’m psycho. But one thing I know is that I never quit, especially when other people trust me with their lives.

Be grateful for the relationships you have and know it’s never too late to make things right.

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