Head In The Sand

He watched her labored breathing and decided to put his girlfriend out of her misery…so he hit her with one last blow to end her life! I was in disbelief as I watched Dateline Sunday night. A nice looking, young, successful hockey player had traveled to visit his girlfriend at college for the weekend….he ended up killing her.

As the story unfolded….it started out so normal–boyfriend goes to visit his girlfriend. She is a college swimmer…gets done with practice and heads off to meet her boyfriend who came to visit. Some drinking was involved. They get into an argument in her dorm room. His anger turns into an uncontrollable rage and he beats her to death. He eventually turns himself in. He called his dad first and then 911.

This all happened in 2012. Dateline showed a video of his confession, telling how the night unfolded. In 2014, when it goes to trial, he pleads not guilty. His defense was that he was a victim of severe abuse by his father. The violence he committed, in which his girlfriend was the victim, was the result of the “rage” inside him. Abuse was “his normal” growing up; he knew no different.

The jury held him responsible for his actions and he was given a “life sentence” for his violent crime. Sad…tragic…heartbreaking to watch the testimony of his siblings as they talked about the home they grew up in where the father broke their sister’s nose, and beat their mother.

Abuse is a terrible thing and it is a reality! You hear more today about abuse because of technology and television. I think it is way more serious than we can even imagine. If you don’t grow up that way, you cannot even fathom that it exists or that people are capable of abusing their family members. It is easy, if it doesn’t happen to you, to attempt to stick your head in the sand and say…”Oh, that is none of my business.” Or, “The kids are exaggerating.”

But abuse in the home is a terrible thing and many, many kids grow up with abuse as their normal. It is all they know and all they see and when they become adults…there is a “silent rage” that smolders within…until many times they snap and it ends…very tragic and nasty!

How should a home look? Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Is there room for abuse where training and instruction of the Lord is happening? There shouldn’t be.

We do have agencies in place like DSS (Department of Social Services). One of its roles is to investigate suspicious situations or incidents noticed. Often though, young kids live in fear and never say a thing! At 52 what I have discovered is that it happens in nice homes…not just in poverty or low income situations. As I have grown older and lived life and mentored many kids…often times it happens in homes where there is success and the families look quite normal.

But abuse is prevalent.

It may not be physical, maybe it is severe emotional abuse. Emotional abuse does not break arms or legs or leave outward bruises, but it destroys the heart and soul! It penetrates just as deep and severe, often times more. Many times, as I involve myself in the lives of others, I find that abuse in homes that look very normal outwardly…are homes filled with alcohol abuse or drug abuse as well.

The parents lose control…and all kinds of nasty things happen. I have had young adults tell me their parents have no memory the next day of what they have said and done. They get up and act as if it never happened, but there is blood splatter of the heart everywhere!

I think as a mature adult, who continues to mature and grow in Christ, this is one of the saddest things I am aware of today. It keeps me up at night! It does. I only find peace in my heart with extensive prayer time…it overwhelms me! I have many teacher friends who “see it” (abuse) on a daily basis. A few friends are counselors who counsel many kids. Thank God some kids get counseling. Many do not because of finances or fear.

Point of the post….If you suspect abuse…first pray…ask God for wisdom and DO NOT STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND!

God is faithful. If you become aware of a young person who has experienced physical or emotional abuse…through prayer, God will direct you as to what to do. When you offer prayer, a listening ear, or maybe to aid in getting someone professional help…you are literally storming the gates of hell.

It isn’t just kids. I have even had adult friends who open up and admit that their childhood was filled with abuse. They need help also. Abuse in the home is not God’s design. Many who have experienced abuse as a child grow up never realizing that abuse is NOT NORMAL. The way they see the world…is only through what they have known. Parents are supposed to know how to do good for their children. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). The good gifts from parents are supposed to remind us of how much greater God is. Sadly, the abuse can distort our view of God as well.

Our world hurts…if everyone took it upon themselves to get outside themselves and help…being the hands and feet of Jesus…then there could be much change for the better in our world. I love the quote, “When good men/women do nothing, evil prevails.”

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