Thursday, March 13, 2008
Close to Nowhere
Out of the mouths of babes
I was ashamed of myself at church last Sunday.
We’ve all heard about the “Lester Street Massacre” in Memphis, Tenn. I would think folks on Mars would have heard about this senseless, horrific tragedy by now.
One of our congregation is, as she calls it, a “lab rat” at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. My daughter works there and so does my friend Jane’s daughter-in-law. We have all been concerned, not only about the children who survived, but about the employees at Le Bonheur.
Several were threatened, the police have been a constant presence there and last Friday, the SWAT team was called in and was there most of the day.
During our prayer request time, we were discussing the families of the victims and the employees at Le Bonheur.
One of my all-time, very favorite teenagers was sitting behind me and she said, very quietly, “Aren’t we supposed to pray for the killer also?”
I’m straying into Milton Winter’s territory here, but she’s right.
It’s a thorny problem. I’m originally from Memphis and my mother-in-law lived in the Binghampton area for a while and my brother-in-law and his wife lived there for many years. It’s a friendly, neighborhood-type area -- at least the parts I’m familiar with.
Cecil Dodson, one of the murder victims, apparently wasn’t a law-abiding citizen. So what. Aren’t we supposed to pray for our enemies? What about his children?
It was at church Sunday that I heard Dodson’s brother and the children’s uncle had been arrested and was being charged with the crimes.
Crimes against children always seem to be worse. Does that make someone who hurts children a worse criminal?
How do you pray for someone who would (allegedly) kill his brother and his nieces and nephews?
There have been other heinous crimes against children in our own county and we’ve discussed many times in Sunday school how do we pray for the perpetrators. We’re certainly supposed to.
I will admit that I have not been able to find it in my heart to pray for some who have committed horrible crimes close to home.
Yet, when I heard Jessie’s quiet voice -- “Aren’t we supposed to pray for the bad guys, too?” I was ashamed.
“And a little child shall lead them...”
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