My sister posted this on her blog a few days ago, it’s a bit chilling:
“I got some terrible news today and am still in a little bit of shock. One of my ex-students in Heber Springs, who's 19 now, was arrested Friday on capital murder charges for killing his mother. He confessed to hitting her with a chair leg, a BB gun, and then slitting her throat. And there was a girl with him who I also taught. She allegedly took the mother's credit card and charged on it. Now let me tell you about these kids. Cameron is black and was one of maybe two or three black kids in the school. But fortunately all the kids liked him, he played football, and was one of the most polite students I ever taught. He was also charged with possession of meth and was probably high at the time. I am so saddened by the whole thing and wish I could talk to him. I mean, I really liked this kid! Katie was a very big girl and was also very smart. She was in Algebra in 8th grade, which meant she was advanced for her age. She was also very artistic and even had a gallery showing of her work, which I went to. But she didn't have many friends that I could see, so I can almost understand her part in this more easily than Cameron's. Now I understand why the friends and families of murderers stand behind them. Weirdly, I feel the same way. I just can't imagine what went wrong with both of these kids that they would turn to meth. It sickens me, but I will pray for them and maybe even write them letters at some point.”
She then wrote me and asked for some help in how to pray for them. This was my reply (I had no magic words to make everything all right):
There is so much that the public will never know. Maybe his mother was abusive, who knows? Maybe the meth just made him crazy. What you can and should pray for is peace for his heart, strength to endure what he must, calm to keep things from escalating, you pray that he finds reasons for his behavior and becomes a better, stronger man as a result. You pray that he is treated fairly by the legal system, and you pray that he opens his heart to those who want to help him. You also pray for peace and calm for yourself. You did not cause any of this and there was absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent it. We must pay the consequences of our actions. You can also pray that God will support him, comfort him, guide him, and give him ultimate peace. If you do pray these things for him as often as you can, you will also bring peace to your own soul. We hurt for you and share your pain. We are praying for you as your pray for him. Sometimes bad things happen. Pray that the best can happen is what does happen. It is all we can do, but it is what we must do for our own peace. God bless you, we are holding you in our hearts.
Love sometimes hurts,
She thanked me and posted my reply on Facebook and received quite a number of posts from people thanking her for posting it. Then today, she sent me an email with this message in it:
“I had lunch today with a woman I used to work with and her husband. I’ve never thought they were particularly religious or even spiritual, but I learned today I was wrong. Mike wanted me to tell you how moved he was by the words you wrote to help me pray. He said he’s saved them to go back and re-read later, as have I. He really went on and on and I was so proud of my brother. Love you!”
The point is that the words weren’t mine. Jesus said them in so many different and varied ways, but the point was always the same. We are to love one another as He loved us and express that in our prayers. It’s not the least we can do, it’s the most we can do.