I’ve been silent about the cries and outpouring of anger and grief across the world as the whole earth moans that someone must pay for death.Emotions are raw, fear is driving people to anger and an old truth is being kept secret of suppressed by so many.
As I’ve watched and prayed over hearts experiencing these raw emotions, my own heart has been wrenched and pulled through the myriad of human frailty in ways that many can not understand….
because they haven’t walked that path.
I’m sitting here now with the smell of old news paper articles overwhelming my mind. They recently came into my possession when my father handed me the spelling book that belonged to my brother. The newspapers had been placed in the back of the book and the fell out when I arrived home.
My brother was….
— A poor white boy who was killed because he rode his bike at the back of a very rich woman’s property.
I spent years living in his shadow. I was not the only one who lived there. My other brother did as well. The one who died, his birthday was the day before mine and his death fell upon our family just days before my other brother’s birthday.
What did he do to deserve being partially decapitated by a rope placed between two trees because a woman had a very large piece of property and had no desire to share it with boys on bikes or anyone on a horse? (Oh,did I mention she had dug ditches and placed bricks in them to break the legs of horses that dared to cross into her property?)
One newspaper article clearly shows the direction of the case: “No Charges to Be Filed”
But, surely someone has to pay. Right? I mean, he was a boy. He was 14. He was white and poor. He was new to the community. His parents were (recently) divorced and he had a brother and a sister who were mourning. He was a star athlete. The school he attended even created a sportsmanship award in his name. And his mother wrote a letter to the students at the school begging them not to blame the boy whose property he was killed on……
So, surely someone WOULD pay. RIGHT?
And thus the bitter feeling of defeat, anger and fear of another child being fatally wounded the heart of the mother of the son who was killed.
And that girl, that sister – she’s me. I’m the one who watched my parents grieve for years over what ‘could have been done.’
Yet, there were questions that needed to be answered. It’s still foggy to me. The truth,never fully revealed, yet enough to show me that there are facts about every situation – truth that never fully reveals it’s self because two people can look at one situation and see it completely different.
There is only one who knows the truth.
The woman (who placed the rope) doesn’t fully know the truth. Nor my brother, who felt the rip of the rope across his neck and the impact of the bike on his chest.
But, there is one who knows the truth.
And for the police officers involved in the case? They don’t know the truth, either.
— Yet, they felt the sting of their actions (or lack of).
I know this to be true because years after the case had closed and I was a teen of 16 serving ice cream in a local ice cream parlor, a man with a son about 12 years old came in. My boss decided it was time that I knew this man was one of the officers on the case of my brother’s death.
(sure enough, there he is in the picture of the newspaper article….)
This was the moment where I had a choice. I could forgive and choose love. But, how do I do that when I don’t understand it.
“I can’t serve you today, I’m sorry…” The words escaped my mouth before I knew I was saying them.
“I was wondering when you would find out.”
“Your son, he’s almost the same age as my brother when he was killed.and.you.did.nothing.”
“But, you see, I don’t wear a badge today. And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about your brother.”
The words cut deep. For years I wrestled with that.
I mean, how can a police officer who could have made a woman pay the price for what she did to my brother stand there and say that?
That was many years ago.
Since then, I have worn combat boots, served with those who served where many are dying now and have witnessed truth that many forget.
Death is real
And my heart has read the truth about death that many want to shuffle away as a fable. Even those who claim to be believers fail to see the truth when they experience the sting of death – no matter the cause.
- No human can pay the price for death. EVER.
- The price of death is the penalty for sin.
- We all deserve death because of our sinful heart.
- Only one can pay the price and he did so over 2,000 years ago.
So, who do we blame? Who pays the price?
– When a Father dies and leaves behind a wife and four children – two twin boys of seven and two tween girls (yes, this was my husband’s reality with death) – who do we blame? Do we blame God?
– And what about my Mother who died six years ago from COPD? Or my husband’s mother who died a few months ago, whose birthday is today – her life taken by leukemia? Do we blame cigarette companies (that could be blamed for the COPD) or the companies that created radiation devices in hospitals to help others that possibly caused the leukemia?
– When a man takes his life because he has no hope for tomorrow, who do we blame? Do we blame society for placing him on a pedestal because he has a gift for making us laugh? Do we blame depression or grief?
– When men, women and children are killed around the world because of their beliefs, who do we blame? Do we blame a world so bent on not believing that we turn our eye and say it doesn’t matter because (right now) it isn’t happening here?
– When a young black man who recently robbed a convenient store and walks down a street blocking traffic is killed by an officer, do we blame the officer or the boy?
You see, there are truths and biases all around the world. Until you’ve felt the sting of any type of judgement because of your social status or race, you can’t answer that question. Me, I’ve felt both. I grew up DIRT poor, what you might even call white trash. I lived overseas and felt the eyes watching me and my blond hair walk around in a community of which I was not born. Now, I can’t fully relate to many other situations, I can only relate to my own situation. I am not saying one is worse, but the reality of the impact on the heart can be just as devastating.
Until you’ve felt the deep pangs of sorrow due to the loss of someone you loved, you can’t understand the raw emotions that make your heart and mind feel as though you can’t.take.another.breath.
Until you’ve held a knife in your hand and rubbed it across your wrist, you can’t understand that there are some things in the human brain that a person wrestles with and can’t explain to anyone else.
Until you’ve put on a uniform of any type that means you will defend your nation and community and have a weapon placed in your hands, you can’t imagine the fear and dread of having to do what you’ve promised to do. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be told to make a decision without a jury of your peers standing right there to hold you accountable in the minute.
Until you have faced each of these situations and have seen into the hearts of all around you, you demand death as payment for death.
And until you’ve faced one or more of these, you might actually think you know the truth…..
And even if you have had to face them – you may still think you know the truth.
But there is one who knows the truth. Only one.
Our plight began in the garden. It began with a choice. God didn’t have to put that tree there. He could have left it out. But, He did. He gave mankind a choice. To take of the apple and eat or NOT. His directions – were NOT to eat.
And so it began. The choice was made and death entered the world. First through an animal sacrificed to begin lives outside the garden. And then….brother killed brother, later a tower built and more division because NOW – now we no longer look alike or speak the same language.
And we stand here today. Divided and conquered once again because of choices.
Whose lead will you follow today? What choice will you make?
Will you stand and cause more division? Or can you step out in love and walk over to the other side? Can you love your enemy? Can you seek to draw unity through laying down pride and self by realizing…
Every hate and raw emotion of anger causes us to do in our hearts what others physically do.
Can you and I come to the reality of truth – knowing that what we do in our heart is the same as physically committing that same action of killing, hating, lying, cheating, (and the list could go on and on)?
Can we truly come to the reality that one has paid and all he asks is that we lay down our lives for our brothers?
Until we can see the full truth, we will never understand. And that full truth will never be revealed on this earth.
Until we can all sit at the cross and realize we are the reason it had to exist, we will continue to blame others and seek what can never be given back.
For me – I have had the truth revealed about who should pay for the death of my brother. You see, he and the woman – were both to blame. Both made decisions that lead to his death.
But, in the end, because I believe in a sovereign God who loved the world beyond comprehension to the point that he placed his own son on a cross to die for every sin every human has or ever will commit. My brother’s death was caused by his own selfish desire to do what he wanted and by a woman who wanted people to stay off of ‘her property.’
Regardless of truth. Regardless of bias, sin or any other factor – nothing can bring back lives.
But, we can all begin loving one another.
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