Our news reports are filled with stories of mass shootings, kidnap and the vilest rape imaginable. I can’t help wondering, with great pain in my heart, how the surviving victims of these awful crimes can face Mother’s Day. How can the survivors?
Although recent statistics show, amazingly, that violent crime and homicides are actually decreasing and are at a five-year low, those stats are cold comfort to those who have suffered at the hands of a violent criminal.
As the justice system swings into gear and punishes the criminal, we think, well that ought to bring the survivors some relief. Often it does not. In today’s world, if the crime is ratings worthy, the media will replay the footage over and over. This can often make things emotionally more difficult for survivors.
On holidays and especially on Mother’s Day, victims may experience feelings of extreme loss. The more recent the crime, survivors may experience anger, rage, or even numbness, shock, and confusion. These feelings are not normally associated with Mother’s Day, but they are exceedingly normal to victims of violent crimes. If we know an individual who is a victim of a violent crime, we must allow them the freedom to authentically feel what they truly feel on this emotionally charged day. That is not to say we can’t try to bring some warmth and love into the day. We should do that. Sometimes what is helpful is simply helping victims maintain a normal day-to-day routine. Maintaining the mundane can offer some relief and calm fears. So, it might be more appropriate not to make such a big deal out of Mother’s Day, but rather to just be there as a loved one or friend on this particular holiday and simply to assist in maintaining a sense of normalcy.
The Christian response is always to pray. Indeed, do pray for the crime victim and even for the perpetrator. Pray that the crime victim will one day be able to forgive. Forgiveness brings great release. As Christians we want to let the precious ones who have been the victims of crime know of the great healing and peace of Christ, but pushing this on the person who has experienced a horrific crime will probably not be at all helpful and may be extremely hurtful. The best thing for Christians to do is let the crime victim see Christ through our loving attitude and actions. And of course, pray, pray, pray.