Yesterday in Chicago a nine-year-old boy was shot down and killed. His
parents faced the reality of knowing their son was gone and would never
return. The child's stepfather walked through a patch of overgrown weeds
that surrounded a concrete slab where the police showed him where his son
had been found, shot in the chest, arms and hands on Wednesday afternoon.
Although under investigation, the police reported there was currently a
dispute between two local gang members, at least two factions of the
Gangster Disciples. Of course the child was not part of the gang, but was
caught up in the darkest decisions of choice between gangs having a dispute.
The child's stepfather could only weep and say, "He just didn't make it. He
just didn't make it, "I'm praying for the whole city right now. I don't want
no other parent to ever go through this. I feel your pain. It's bad and it
hurts so much."
We have been inundated with almost 24-7 news from a family in Missouri
regarding the killing of an 18-year-old by the local police officer. An
unending number of choices are being made in that case; very little
evidence, but a lot of choices of speculation regarding what happened. Yet
when one traces the choices back from any incident to those pre-incident
choices, more prudent people would agree that sometimes those choices made
create a direct line to the incident that creates an outcome that "goes
viral" as the saying goes.
The Proverbs of Solomon: A wise child makes a father rejoice, but a foolish
child is a grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
We face decisions each and every day. We have choices to make about almost
everything. Whether we are fifteen or fifty-five the choices we make have an
impact not only on ourselves, but those around us as well.
[to top of second column]
Each decision is like a link in a chain; as we make choices about
everything we are living as we move through our lives day by day.
Our perceptions form our attitudes and we decide for or against
whatever issue we confront. Our feelings are formed either
positively or negatively as we accept or reject. We become like a
snowball gaining momentum and adding content to our lives as we go.
It propels us into a “lifestyle” that is uniquely formed as one idea
is added to another and our “worldview” emerges.
As we internalize the world around us we form a personality and a
unique identification. That personality is shaped by everyone and
everything we encounter; and yet we continue to be uniquely
independent because of our own personal choices. We maintain freedom
in our thoughts and we have choices to act on those thoughts as we
Because of that interconnectedness with ourselves, our thoughts,
environmental stimuli, others in our lives and our past learning
history, we inexorably touch and influence those closest to us.
Returning to the Proverb written by Solomon we can see that it
really does matter about the choices we make in our lives. We have
an effect on those around us in more ways than we can imagine. This
Proverb says that if we make wise choices and submit ourselves to
Wisdom, with the power of God we become wise and give reason for our
parents to rejoice. The obverse or counterpart is true as well: if
we make foolish choices we shun the power of God and His Wisdom and
become foolish in our ways. Such a decision causes grief to our
parents and those around us.
How many people are suffering and grieved because of the decisions
of others? How many people are suffering and grieved because of the
personal choices they make for themselves?
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
Click here to respond to the editor about this