Thursday, April 21, 2011

All We Like Sheep...

I came home from work yesterday and TV trucks were parked next door. One of the reporters came over and asked us what we knew, which up to that point was zero. She informed us our next door neighbor, the husband, was arrested on charges of child molestation. His wife runs a licensed child day care out of the home.

We were flabbergasted and shocked. My concern was not to rush to judgement when so few of the facts were known. The reporter asked if we would speak "on camera". We declined, but did give permission to quote us anonymously.

Through the evening more details emerged including a report based on court records that our neighbor had confessed to several of the charges. An investigation is ongoing. The day care has been shut down pending further investigations.

One of our other neighbors did give one of the TV stations an "on-camera" statement. What they said pretty well spoke for all of us in the neighborhood. Shock, pain, grief, disbelief

As my wife and I talked about all this, we agreed the question is not, "Is this a man you would have thought capable of doing such things?" We are all capable of doing many seriously sinful and wicked things in life. The question is not what was our neighbor capable of doing, but one of what did he actually do.

Here is a man with grown adult children, a grandfather with grand-kids, retired; a man who up to this point in life has lived with integrity in relation to the civil laws governing our society. What has come to light must be devastating to his wife, his children, his grandchildren, we who are his neighbors, as well as the parents of the children who were in the day care, and the children themselves. And to top it off, one of those parents is a colleague of mine from work.

I'm still dealing with the emotional shock. Though not close friends, we were friends. Over the years we had chatted back and forth, loaned needed tools for whatever project was pressing at the time, and all the other interactions of casual neighbor to neighbor relations.

Anyone of us could very easily and quickly fall into the same kind of sin. We ought not to kid ourselves that we could never do such a thing. The warning is there. "Let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." For it is not about what we are capable of doing. It is about what we actually do. God give us grace and mercy to actually do what is right and good and pure.

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