On Sunday night in Santa Cruz, CA, an 8 year old girl, Madyson Middleton, was seen riding her scooter near her housing complex. Then she went missing. Tragically, her dead body was found yesterday, Monday, discarded in a dumpster. A teenage boy from the same complex has been arrested in connection.
The tragedies here are multiple. First of all, what happened to Madyson. Shouldn’t an 8 year old girl be able to ride her scooter in the early evening without risking her life? And secondly, the boy who seems to be responsible. What twisting of the mind and what circumstances led him to act in such a way, to snuff out the life of an 8 year old girl? Something has gone very wrong somewhere.
I hear sometimes people rebelling against the idea of being answerable to God. There seems to be a prevailing opinion that we are a law unto ourselves (and we make laws which suit the prevailing popular mood.) We don’t like to acknowledge that we are responsible to a greater authority and must give an account of our behavior.
Yet, in the light of what happened to Madyson, isn’t there something in all of us which cries out for justice, for the wrong to be righted, for someone to be made to pay for what they have done?
We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be a law unto ourselves, and accountable to a higher law.
I can’t even begin to properly engage with the question of why God would allow such things. All I know is that trite answers of “God must have a higher purpose behind this” don’t cut it with me, and I’m pretty sure would be scant comfort to the girl’s parents.
What is clear is that evil is real. It walks among us, and more worryingly, it resides inside us too. We each have the potential to act in horrendous ways.
We would prefer the psychological comfort of thinking that evil is somewhere “out there” rather than hiding secretly in the caverns of our own heart.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
There’s nothing I can do for Madyson, except pray for her family, that somehow in the midst of this tragedy they will find God’s comfort. Madyson, I am so sorry this happened to you. It breaks my heart.
But what can I do about evil? I guess I start small. I address the evil within me. I submit my thoughts to Christ. I submit my words that I might not wound with my speaking.
And as I am able, and as God gives me strength, I will work to combat evil around me in whatever way I am able, whether that means supporting a ministry like Agape International Missions rescuing girls from sex trafficking in Cambodia, or expressing love to those who have been bruised and wounded by life.
Paul, in chapter 12 of Romans said it this way:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Lord, I am a mixture. I am noble and I am a savage. I have pure thoughts that soar like eagles, and evil ones from the sewer that seek to drag me down. Help me take every thought captive to Christ. Help me to speak that my words create rather than destroy. Help me to take hold of that, for which you took hold of me, and to challenge evil wherever I find it, whether that be inside my own heart, or outside in the world around me. Let me overcome evil with good.