Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Anyone Safe?

In the past couple weeks two of my acquaintances have been robbed – at gunpoint, in separate incidences! Two people I know, not strangers on television or statistics in the paper. Two people who drive the same streets I drive and shop at the same places I shop. Two people just like me were robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight! Frankly, that scares the hell out of me. Both were unharmed but it is still a scary, scary thing.

My initial reaction has been to protect myself and my family. I’ll lock the doors, not go out after dark, etc. But these protections are only temporary. If we are truly going to protect ourselves, we have to look deeply and seriously not at what causes individuals to be victims, but at what causes individuals to be criminals. I’m not a criminologist or sociologist but I have some theories. Economic hopelessness, the media glorification of the “gansta” image, the punitive rather than rehabilitation emphasis of the courts system, insidious drug use, out of control materialism and consumerism are a few of the things I think contribute to crime in our country.

So What? What can I do about these mammoth problems?
  • First, I have to remember that it isn’t just PROBLEMS that cause crime. It is PEOPLE with problems who commit crimes. At the beginning of every crime statistic is a person who is addicted to drugs or money or who is economically or spiritually hopeless or who has any of the thousands of excuses we’ve made available to criminals.
  • Next, I can support leaders and public policy that recognize criminals as people and that employ methods to address deficiencies in society that cause criminal behavior.
  • And lastly, I can pray for the criminals and the public officials dealing with the crime. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.

So, here is a challenge, friends. Go to this web site or your local newspaper, find a crime that has been committed in your neighborhood and pray for the victims, the accused and the officials who have to make decisions regarding the crime. Even write one of them a note letting them know you are praying for their wisdom or peace or healing. If everyone did that, every week, I can’t help but think the world would change for the better.



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