Yesterday, the police shot and killed a man on the corner of my father’s street, three houses away. The man was on the run afterhe shot and killed his girlfriend. He ran into my father’s neighborhood to hide. Once he realized the police were on him, he broke into a house on the corner, pointed his gun at the man and his lady, and told them he wasn’t leaving because the cops were outside. The man then pulled out his gun and told him he’d shoot him in the head if he didn’t leave. The man ran back outside, the cops told him to drop his gun, he continued to run, and the police shot him dead in his tracks. That’s the story, anyway. I wasn’t there so I don’t know for sure.
It’s crazy to think how any person in the world could live a good life, an ordinary life, or any other kind of life then do something like this and negate their entire existence. Some people knew the man. Some were related to him. Some probably even loved him. But he will be known as a man who murdered a woman then was killed by police on the corner of 25th Street and Kohler Avenue in August of 2018.
To say the man had problems is an understatement. To say he had a mental illness or battled some serious demons is a great possibility. But the only thing we can say for sure about this man is he allowed anger to take control of his life. And it won. He robbed himself and another human being of life because he could not control his anger.
The first recorded murder
was the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4), the first two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer, and Abel was a shepherd. God was more pleased with Abel’s sacrifice because it was the best of his flock, while Cain did not give the best of his crops. God accepted Abel’s gift but not Cain’s. Though God explained to Cain how he could make it right, Cain instead became jealous of Abel and took him into the field one day and killed him. The Bible does not explicitly state Cain’s motives for murder, but it was obvious: he allowed his jealousy and anger to get the best of him.
That’s crazy to think about, isn’t it? Simple concepts such as jealousy and anger lead a person to take another life. Simple concepts? Sure. Dangerous, deadly sins? Yes!! And just like that man I mentioned, Cain would be known as the guy who killed his brother–not the oldest son of Adam and Eve or the farmer of the family or anything else. He was the first killer. His entire existence was negated by senseless violence–which all started with jealousy and anger.
I recently saw something on social media that said
“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. / Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. / Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. / Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. / Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.” — author unknown
No one can say what anyone’s thoughts are, but we can hear their words, watch their actions, take note of their habits, discern their character, and witness their destiny. And it all started with the thoughts.
As a person who battles some dark and dangerous demons, I will admit that my thoughts aren’t always good. (Often times they are not.) And my words sometimes follow their leader. And my actions follow. And they go to a place they shouldn’t. Do they lead to robbing anyone of life? Nope. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous in some other way. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep them in check. I definitely should.
I’ve been through a lot in recent weeks, some most unpleasant confrontations and conflicts. Some ended peacefully while others did not. Was there anger? Yes. Were there bad words? Or course. Did I know better but get caught up in a few moments anyway? Yes. We all do, from time to time. But we need to keep it in check before we get out of control or do something bad that cancels out all the good. We could live good lives forever, make one mistake, and be known for the one bad thing and not the millions of good things. And it all starts with our thoughts.
During these recent times of trials and tribulations, a verse kept popping into my head. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1). I tried to focus on that at times I debated biting my tongue. Sometimes I just want the last word. I want to be right. I want to be heard. I know you can relate. Were there gentle answers at every turn the last few weeks? Nope. That’s why my thoughts took a wrong turn and my words followed. And just as the others should’ve responded with gentle answers, so should I.
A gentle answer comes from gentle thoughts. May God give us strength to be gentle with our thoughts and even more gentle with our answers. May He help us put on the shoes of our brothers and sisters, take a walk in them, and respond in love and compassion. May God help us be just as gentle with ourselves as we should be with each other. May we all have positive thoughts, kind words, loving actions, good habits, great characters, and destinies worth mentioning. May we all become so much more than a blood stain on the street and a bad memory for those who never knew us.
Goodnight. Much love. God bless. xo