On February 2, 2015, CNN reported that a father and an 8-month-pregnant mother were both shot by their three-year-old son. The incident happened in an Albuquerque, NM hotel room after the little boy removed a hand gun from his mother’s purse. Fortunately, both parents survived and no harm came to their unborn child. In a separate incident, however, in northern Idaho, a 29-year-old mother was not so lucky. Her two-year-old son found a loaded handgun in her pocketbook and fatally shot her.i
News like this is very distressing. Matricide or patricide is a terrible burden for a person to bear from so early an age. To live with the reality that you took the life of the very one who gave you life, even if it’s unintentional, will be a source of pain for the rest of the child’s life.
The Ease of Killing
Now, I’m sure cries came from every corner condemning these incidents as examples of poor parenting or child endangerment. Some will also beat the drum about the need for gun control in America.
But it occurred to me that these events demonstrate that killing is a very easy thing to do. It took very little effort for two toddlers, with their little baby hands, to hold, point, and fire a handgun. Taking life is far easier than giving life. It took many months for this unfortunate mom to carry her child and a painful delivery to give him birth. It took tons of patience and love to nurture, care for, and protect him. Only a parent understands all the effort that goes into the nurturing and raising of a child. Parenting isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s no wonder so many adults in our low/no-commitment generation opt to raise a cat or a dog, rather than a human being. Giving life, especially human life, is a difficult and life-long task. Yet it took no effort at all to take that life.
Conveying Strength and Weakness
I’m making this point because our own thinking is so perverted that we actually attribute killing or hurting someone as a display of strength. In the 1989 movie Batman, the Joker makes the statement, “One must possess strength to inflict pain.” That’s precisely the attitude our culture promulgates through the media. Why else are we so enamored with brutal sports like Ultimate Fighting Competition? And why else is it considered an insult to be called “a nice guy?”
Why else do so many women prefer to be called “a bitch” but loath being called “a sweet person?” And why else do we have such contempt for kindness, tenderness, and courtesy which we ironically classify as weakness?
I have never understood how anybody could believe that showing kindness and courtesy is a display of weakness. They are so difficult to display, especially in the presence of morons and abusive jerks. Strength is displayed by doing the difficult, not the easy. It is so easy to have an angry outburst (AKA a temper tantrum), or to lose self-control, or to lash with our tongues, or to injure. It takes far less effort to raise our voice or our fist.
However, it takes far more effort to maintain our composure—and all the more strength to forgive, to bless, and to love. Why then do we take such pride in being hurtful and abusive? The glory of a human being is that he or she rises above mere animal instinct and behaves like a child of God. King Solomon was right when he said, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is stronger than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).
Dear Father in heaven, You are all powerful, yet You love me, forgive me, and display Your infinite patience toward me. Open my eyes and help me to realize that true strength is displayed by loving, not hating; by helping, not hurting; and by blessing, not cursing. Amen.