Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Child Arrested For Unwrapping Christmas Gift Early

“A mother convinced the police to arrest her 12-year-old son after he unwrapped a Christmas present early.” This opening sentence grabbed my attention.

The boy’s great-grandmother bought, wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree a Nintendo Game Boy Advance with the strict instruction that he was not to open it until Christmas. But, on Sunday morning the great-grandmother found the box opened and emptied. She called the 27-year-old mother and reported what her son had done.

The mother and great-grandmother then confronted the boy and asked where the Game Boy was. He said he didn’t know. When the mother threatened to call the police the boy went into his room and brought out the Game Boy. The mother called the police anyway.

When two police officers arrived the mother insisted that they arrest her 12-year-old son so they did and booked him for petty larceny.

The mother later explained that when she confronted her son about his behavior he showed no remorse. Though only 12, the boy already has a history of bad behavior including shoplifting, stealing money, school expulsion and punching a police officer during a prior incident.

I don’t know what will become of this child. What I do know is that he possesses the most dangerous kind of heart disease: a hard heart. A hard heart is a condition where a person no longer cares about right and wrong, good and bad, God or evil. He or she just lives for self and loses the capacity for compassion, generosity, love and most of all, experiencing God.

The reason the ancient Pharaoh suffered the 10 plagues in Egypt is because of a hard heart. The reason the entire nation of Israel was not allowed to enter the promised land was hard heartedness. Charles Dickens tale about Ebenezer Scrooge was illustrative of the plight of a hard heart and how miraculous it is if one recovers from it.

Hard heartedness generally comes on subtly and gradually. Usually there are significant life disappointments that nurse the hardening. Scrooge was aided by ghosts from the past to snap him out of the deadly state. Truly only the Holy Ghost, God’s Spirit can touch, soften, heal and enliven the heart.

THAT is what Christmas is about.

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