Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23
Last Tuesday, when I turned on the TV, there was breaking news of a horrific tragedy. A 35 year old mother had killed her seven year old daughter and five year old son, and then shot her husband in the head, leaving him in critical condition. She then tried to kill herself, but couldn’t do it.
I know mothers everywhere, including me, are asking how she could do that to her own husband and children. Our instinct as mothers is to protect our children at all cost, even if it means sacrificing ourselves. Many, I’m sure, would agree that losing a child would be their worst nightmare.
Today, my husband and I put our 19 year old daughter on a plane for the first time ever-to California of all places-to meet her boyfriend’s family. Now, flying isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. I just can’t get over the fact that you are 35,000 feet in the air with nothing underneath. So sending our daughter off into the wild blue yonder to the opposite side of the country was not a comforting thought. When her plane lifted off the runway my stomach lurched forward. What if… scenarios kept creeping into my mind. I prayed the entire time she was in the air, asking God to keep her safe in the palm of His hand. I know some of you must think I’m crazy by this point. It’s just an airplane! But no matter, fears assuaged me just the same. Everything within me wants to protect my children.
And so, as I was praising God for our daughter’s safe landing this afternoon, thoughts of this young mother swirled in my mind. Why on earth would someone kill their children? Did she think in some warped way she was protecting them from something? Or did she just snap after a period of trying to deal with the worries of life? We may never know. I can’t help but wonder, though, if there was someone she could talk to before she lost control; a church family who could pray for her; or if anyone had ever introduced her to Jesus Christ and the hope He brings. Would any of this have happened? Again, we don’t know what resources were available to her. All we are left with are the questions why and how could she?
Someone posted a picture on facebook of this mother happily hugging her two beautiful children. Several people who knew her said she was a good parent who was active in her children’s lives and was even a room mom at school. Sounds like she was much like many of us . On the outside looking in, no one suspected the danger lurking beneath.
Never judge a book by its cover.
I must say that, before learning all of this, I was thinking she must have been an unfit mother whose actions didn’t surprise those who knew her. But when I saw her photo as I was scrolling through facebook, I stopped cold. She looked so… normal. Unless I’d seen the words killing and children, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the pertinence of the photo. As I stared at her seemingly cheerful countenance, one word came to mind. Grace. Give her grace.
That’s what Jesus would do. He proved it over and over again as He walked through the New Testament; forgiving the adulterous woman as well as the tax collectors, sharing the gospel with the Samaritan woman who’d had five husbands, even allowing the criminal who hung beside him on a cross to enter Paradise with Him that very day. What this woman did was wrong in every way, but it’s not unforgivable with God. Although my heart aches for this family and their tragic loss, I know God loves this mother as much as anyone else. Their pain is His pain. Her pain is His pain.
I’m not saying she shouldn’t suffer the consequences of this heinous crime. But we need to remember that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, ready to steal, kill and destroy, and the family is his primary target. Yes, Satan won this battle, but he hasn’t won the war. Instead of condemning, let’s pray for her and her family. We don’t know the circumstances that led to her unthinkable actions, but God does. We are called to be ambassadors of God’s love and, if we can live in obedience to that, we may never know this side of heaven how God will use us to avert evil and destruction in this world.
Have you been able to make an impact for God’s kingdom by showing someone His unconditional love? Why don’t we commit daily to asking God to reveal those who may need a
kind word or gesture shown to them?