Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Children Who Kill

Sola's Note: The following article was released today by Chuck Missler's ministry, Koinonia House. It's interesting timing, because the subject—children committing murder and other acts of violence—has been increasingly on my mind of late.

When stories like a child murderer surface in the press, many of us as Christians will shake our heads and say "signs of the times," and then forget about it. But we really ought to stop, think, and pray. And then ask ourselves if we, as the Church, are doing enough to address what is becoming a really troubling societal problem.

We've seen that children are being desensitized to violence and improper sexual conduct. It's not even what I would call a slow trend any longer. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Chuck, as always, is very thought-provoking.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Prov 22:6
Early in September, a 14-year-old boy rode his bike up to the NATO headquarters in Kabul. The explosives wrapped around the boy's chest then detonated, killing himself and six other people, including children. Across the world later in September, a 14-year-old girl choked her newborn baby to death and hid the body in her room. It is easy to be horrified when mere kids willingly commit murder, and yet, the cultures of these two teens prepared them to treat human life as something okay (or even good) to destroy.

A recent Time article bemoans the situation in Afghanistan, grimly suggesting that the years of fighting there will have accomplished little or nothing once the U.S. leaves as scheduled at the end of 2014. The Press Trust of India offers more encouragement, offering NATO warnings to the Taliban that even after 2014, the well-trained and capable Afghan security forces will be a pain in the side of the insurgency.

Yet, whether the Afghan security forces are capable or well-trained is not nearly as important as which side they are really on. A series of insider attacks have killed scores of U.S. soldiers, demonstrating a lack of loyalty among some in the Afghan army and police. The choice of the Afghan people is either the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai or the Taliban. Neither choice is particularly pretty, but at least the Karzai government will end soon - due to term limits - with the upcoming elections in 2014, and the citizens of Afghanistan will have a chance to elect a candidate of their choice.

Somehow, the Taliban has managed to maintain a vicious insurgency, even while meting out cruel injustices against those that fail to bow before its authority. At the end of August, for instance, insurgents decapitated 17 civilians for throwing a party that didn't fall within the fun-free Taliban code. Apparently, Allah approves of wanton murder of civilians, of betraying those who train you and fight beside you, and of blowing yourself up in the presence of little street children.

A Boy:
The boy who rode his bike up to the NATO headquarters was just that – a boy. He could be considered an especially brave young man, one dedicated to his cause, filled with faith that his act of sacrifice would benefit his family and tribe and would give him assurance of heaven. He went out to fight the infidels, the enemies of Allah. He obeyed those who sent him. If only he had been raised in a different culture. Poor, foolish kid.

Did he pedal with focused determination or with terror? Did he even stop to think about the lives of the children selling this and that in front of the NATO building? Did the children catch his eye for a moment, causing him to hesitate? He was 14, not 24, not 54.

This solitary boy was used by a group that does not value human life. He was taken advantage of at an age when boys want more than anything to impress others, to prove they can be men, tough, strong and brave. Yet, the result was that he killed himself and others in a vicious act that left bits of flesh raining over the sidewalk.

He did what he'd been taught to do.

A Girl:
The Florida girl, on the other hand, was not weighed down by a vest packed with explosives and sent out by her elders. She was a pregnant girl who didn't want to mess things up with her mother and so hid her pregnancy and killed her newborn. She was physically mature, old enough to have sex and conceive a child. At the same time, she was so young that she didn't even try to dispose of the baby's body. She just hid it, like any kid hides something that could get them into trouble.

A 14-year-old is quite old enough to understand that murder is wrong, that babies should be cared for and protected. At the same time, 14-year-olds are not known for being tremendously skilled at appreciating the full consequences of their actions. They are known for being emotional and making decisions based on feelings. Remember Romeo and Juliet.  It's certain the girl knew that what she was doing was wrong, but she did it anyway, and confessed openly to the police when questioned about it. At the same time, was she truly doing anything contrary to what she had been taught?

Babies are valued in American culture. They are adored and dressed in cute clothes and parties are thrown for them. Wanted babies, anyway. The unwanted ones, however... those are considered disposable by law.

This 14-year-old girl's case underlines the moral schizophrenia of our society. Had she gone to a clinic and received an abortion three months prior to the birth, she would not be facing charges of murder. Not only would she have been considered in her rights to get an abortion, many Americans would have thought her mother crazy to have her keep the baby.

So, what is this girl really guilty of? Is she guilty because she waited too long to deal with her problem? She didn't trust her parents? She didn't seek help from anybody?

No, she's guilty of murdering her baby! She simply did it after the baby was already born, losing the sanctioning of the law. It is a tragic commentary on her life and our society that a 14-year-old kid didn't think that murder was as bad as telling her mother she was pregnant.

Human beings are born in sin. We know right and wrong innately, and yet we are capable of every evil under the sun. At the same time, our thought processes are formed by the world and people around us. By the time these two young people turned 14, they should have appreciated the evil of murder and the value of human life. They should have been tender enough to vomit at the idea of killing another person, especially children younger than themselves. Yet, both have been raised in cultures that say that human life is disposable if necessity demands it.  Both behaved according to what they had been taught was justified behavior.

While we have so far been unable to control the Taliban and their powerful influence over the Afghan people, we do have responsibility over our own lives. We are in charge of our families, our children and the patches of perspective that we ourselves add to the fabric of our culture. We need to make sure that in all things, we bring the life of the Spirit of God with us wherever we go, and by His presence shine godly wisdom into dark situations.  We need to each be a bright shining light that offers scared 14-year-olds other options available to them than the destruction that comes so naturally to us all.

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