That statement is often an exaggeration. It’s something likely said by a teenage girl who discovers a nasty pimple in the middle of her forehead the day before prom.
It was said a lot, however, on a couple of television shows I watched on ABC recently: Madoff and Bernie Madoff After the Fall.
Just in case you’ve been living on the moon and had no access to the media the past few years, Bernie Madoff pulled off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, stealing billions of dollars from his clients. Despite his assurances that he could make his investors big bucks in the stock market, he never bought a single stock. Instead, in classic Ponzi fashion, he used money from new investors to pay off the older ones. The scam went on for years, and both personal investors and charities lost most of their money.
I can well sympathize with a person who invested his entire retirement with Madoff and now finds he will have to work until the day of his death. Many young people whose college funds were raided will now either have to take out student loans or work part time to pay tuition. Dream vacations have evaporated; dream homes will go unbought.
Yet . . . I can’t help wondering about that statement “My life is ruined!”
If it’s true that a life can be ruined by loss of finances, doesn’t that make our lives hostage to money?
Aren’t our lives worth more than that?
Twice in the gospels, Jesus tells us that our lives are worth more than the entire world (Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36).
When you think about it, wasn’t it actually Bernie Madoff–who will not only have to spend the rest of his life in prison but make an accounting to God someday–whose life was ruined?
And when you think about it even more deeply, isn’t it only a soul in Hell who can honestly claim in every sense possible “My life is ruined!”
The loss of health and wealth don’t even begin to compare to the loss suffered there.
Which of course means the only person who can actually ruin my life is . . . me.