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How Did They Get There

Gail Oliver Cambridge | April 2023

I like watching crime shows with plots of someone doing really bad things who is eventually caught. However, I sometimes change the channel when the crime is too horrific. Often, these are fictional stories. However, it seems that many more are real-life scenarios.

You may have heard about the South Carolina lawyer, who was found guilty of murdering his wife and son; the oil field operator from Colorado, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and their two young daughters; or the California brothers who killed their parents. Sadly, there are many more similar cases.

Can you imagine the negative thoughts, lies, and planning that must consume one to go to those lengths? How does love turn into hate to the point of people committing such hideous crimes? Why, I wonder, go there. Don’t they remember when they first met, the ensuing bond, good times, and love they shared? What changed? A psychologist/psychiatrist might delve into the where, what, and why to get to the root cause, but sometimes when a motive is revealed, it seems so trivial!

What about the partners, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives who are confronted with the devastating news of the bad deed and are left with the consequences? I imagine them uttering such words as, “This can’t be true!” or “I don’t believe it!” or “How could s/he do this?” I empathize with their pain and loss and give them grace.

The fact is we are human and sometimes we hurt or are hurt by the ones we love most due to greed, jealousy, anger, lust or some other negative emotion or desire, and getting revenge seems absolutely essential. Many of us have probably experienced a time when we wanted to do damage to our partners for a wrong they had done us, but thankfully, that emotion was fleeting and we were able to let go. Had we instead held on to our grievances and allowed them to fester, evil could have gained a foothold on us and burst out as we have seen in many of these dark and tragic stories.

We must strive to stomp the tide of hate where and whenever it arises and lead with love and compassion. It’s always heartening to witness older couples who have weathered the storms of their relationship still caring and loving each other and doing so with undeniable joy! Let’s learn from them, endeavoring to bring the right positive energy into our unions and other relationships, beginning with a simple act of kindness to dispel any lingering resentment or other friction in the air.

Sometimes, this is easier said than done and we might seek therapy and guidance from a trusted and knowledgeable person trained to help us move forward, be that someone in the mental health field, the ministry, or some other helping profession.

We have all seen the horrors that evil can wreak but we have also witnessed the positive ripple effects that follow when we intentionally bring light and love into our world. Let’s remember, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV)


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