Sticks and stones, pain and stress

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

As we enter the holy season of Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, many diversions of the meaning of Christmas are affecting our lives. However, these diversions have nothing to do with the reason for the season, which is the birth of Christ. Instead, the joy of Christmas is being replaced with worldly concerns and fears.

This year, much attention is being paid to supply chains and empty shelves in stores. This past year has brought about high inflation, gas prices, loss of employment, COVID and COVID mandates. With an overall distrust of government, many wonder what the future holds. Having faith in the Lord and believing that He is in control has resulted in emotional stress and pain in many lives. These have resulted in behaviors that hurt lives.

What do we know about the stresses and pains of those around us? What can we do for them? Do we have an obligation?

“For I was hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord when saw we thee hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25: 35-40 (KJV)

As a police officer, I recall numerous occasions where good people committed crimes due to stress in their lives, affecting their future confidence. As a major crimes detective allocated to the robbery squad, I was assigned to investigate a bank robbery that had just occurred. I responded to the bank, and uniformed officers canvassed the area and found a man on foot fitting the description.

Bank employees described the suspect, and it was broadcast. From that information, I concluded the suspect was not a career
criminal as his unkempt appearance, communication with employees, and other behaviors did not support such a conclusion. It appeared to the employees that he might have been armed with a toy pistol, but smartly, they did not challenge that. He was
apprehended without incident.

I interrogated the suspect, who immediately confessed to his involvement. He was a painter out of work, fearful he would not be able to feed his family, thus making the wrong choice to rob a bank. The money from the robbery was in his possession, which
he readily wanted to be returned to the bank. His tearful remorse was apparent.

The follow-up investigation verified that he had told me the truth regarding his hardships. The commonwealth attorney (after hearing my statements) imposed a minimal punishment, which was probation. Sadly, many such crimes occur by good, well-meaning people who lack faith and do not trust in God.

We all bear some responsibility for the well-being of those around us. We must be ready to share ourselves with others, even if it is only a friendly ear.

I could offer many similar commentaries over forty years of law enforcement, but I trust that my point has
been made. One closing thought is this:

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 KJV

Keith Throckmorton, retired Fairfax County Police, contributed this column.