When I picked him up he put his arms around me. He was
staring at me for a minute with big eyes, then he went
limp.” That was Sasha Glenn’s gut-wrenching testimony about
the death of Malakai, her 18-month-old son.
Malakai slipped into a coma on June 27 and died four days
later from injuries sustained when he was forcefully and
repeatedly swung against a wall by Derris Smith, his
mother’s 17-year-old boyfriend. During her testimony, Sasha
described how her son’s skull was bashed so hard against the
wall that it cracked a wooden door and left shreds of
drywall on his head.
Malakai’s crime: The innocent toddler was taking too long to
learn how to use the toilet.
world is filled with grisly stories like this. Stories of
helpless children tormented at the hands of emotionally
unstable, lust-ridden, rage-filled, out-of-control parents
and adults smear the pages of newspapers and websites daily.
Unthinkable crimes—gruesome slayings, mass murders, child
molestation, rape, and a host of other vicious evils—occur
frequently in every Western society.
Brutality has been accepted as a black patch on the tapestry
of human existence—and not just for soldiers on bloody
battlefields, inner-city gangs or hospital emergency rooms.
Today, brutality camps in the living rooms and on computer
screens in nearly every household, toying with our children
and courting the minds of our teens, all under the often
unsuspecting eyes of parents. Though most of us may never
experience such calamity, we are all subject to its
Tear-jerking stories of unimaginable cruelty fill the news:
babies killed by their mothers and buried in the backyard;
children drowned in the bathtub; infants ripped from their
mothers’ wombs; children exploited as sex slaves; adults
tortured and shot by their own sons or daughters—the list of
tragedies is endless. In fact, we have come to accept this
sad state of affairs as normal, another ghastly reality of
life. Millions have grown immune to human suffering, even
when it’s of the most atrocious and unimaginable kind. The
heart of man has grown hard, unforgiving and emotionless.
Many no longer appreciate, respect and value human life
other than their own.
Sure, when most people hear stories like the one about
Malakai, they probably have trouble understanding how it can
happen. What kind of mind grips a toddler by the front of
his shirt, lifts him from the ground, and smashes his head
against a wall? Human beings are not supposed to act that
way _ we may think. But after a while our thoughts
probably shift to the next episode of American Idol
that follows the nightly news.
have men’s hearts grown so cold, so callous and hard, that
we are scarcely impacted by gruesome news of horrific
crimes? In a world gone berserk on brutality, how can we
rear our children to be warm, loving, compassionate human
beings with a healthy respect and appreciation for the
preciousness of human life?
Without Natural Affection
Some might say that history is stained with aggression and
cruelty, and people today are no more callous than at any
other time in history. But read what the Apostle Paul wrote
in 2 Timothy 3: “[U]nderstand this, that in the last days
will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and
trouble …. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly]
self-centered …. [They will be] without natural [human]
affection (callous and inhuman) … uncontrolled and fierce …”
(verses 1-3, Amplified Bible). The term “last days” refers
to human society just prior to the return of Jesus
Christ—the time we live in now.
planet has never been as perilous, as dangerous, as it is
today. Consider the terms Paul used to describe the way
people would be in our time: lovers of self,
self-centered, lacking natural affection, callous, inhuman,
uncontrolled and fierce. There simply are no
better terms to describe the gut-wrenching state of mankind
today. The minds of millions, including children, are
steadily degenerating to the point where they are void of
natural affection. Our Western culture desensitizes people
to violence and cruelty, to human suffering and pain, to
death. If you read newspapers or watch the news, you know
that this is precisely the mental state of too many.
light of Paul’s prophecy, consider the following stories,
gleaned from mainstream news sources in July alone.
Australia, an 11-year-old boy was taken into custody
after he pressured two preschool-age girls into having sex
with him and infected both with sexually transmitted
Britain, a 67-year-old man who was playing cricket with his
son died of a heart attack after he was stoned by a gang of
children. The youngest offender was 10 years old.
America, a 13-year-old girl killed her father by shooting
him in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun as he slept.
Stories of children and teens beating the elderly and
homeless are common. Strong’s Concordance defines the
word fierce in 2 Timothy 3 as “not tame” and
“savage.” In many ways, Western societies are devolving into
cesspools of uncouth, uneducated, emotionless pits of
savagery. Gang warfare occurs in nearly every major city. In
California, a woman was prosecuted for driving her
14-year-old son and his gang friends to a skate park where
they beat and stabbed another boy to death. Astoundingly,
the mother had known exactly what the boys were planning.
San Francisco, two teenage girls were prosecuted for animal
cruelty after they poured gasoline on a kitten, ignited it
on fire, and then laughed as the cat screeched in pain.
Proverbs 12:10 says a person’s nature is revealed by the way
he or she treats animals. What kind of society produces
teenagers that enjoy burning animals alive?
describes the term without natural affection as,
“Without that affection which parents bear to their young,
and which the young bear to their parents. An affection
which is common to every class of animals ….” In these
perilous times, there are many cases where familial
love—that natural warmth between parents and children—has
Reno, Nevada, Michael and Iana Straw were prosecuted for
child neglect after authorities found their 22-month-old son
and 11-month-old daughter severely malnourished and on the
verge of starvation. “Police said hospital staff had to
shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with
cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry
skin and severe dehydration. Her brother had to be treated
for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle
development caused him difficulty in walking …” (Associated
Press, July 15).
reason for Mr. and Mrs. Straw’s neglect? Both were obsessed
with online role-playing games. “They had food; they just
chose not to give it to their kids because they were too
busy playing video games” (ibid.). Some animals travel miles
to find food for their young; this couple couldn’t set down
their game controllers and walk to the pantry!
South Carolina, authorities found the dead bodies of two
toddlers in trash bags under a kitchen sink. The children, a
1-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, had died when their
mother had left them in the car all day while she was at
Maryland, police searching the home of a mother accused of
killing her baby discovered the remains of three additional
fetuses on the property.
Phoenix, Arizona, a man died after being shot by policemen
with a stun gun. Police had been called in as the
49-year-old man was performing an exorcism on his 3-year-old
granddaughter. When the police arrived and opened the door
of the bedroom, they saw the man “choking his bloodied
granddaughter, who was crying in pain and gasping” (ibid.,
Florida, a woman was prosecuted after authorities found she
had bound, starved and abused a total of 11 adopted
children. The woman had adopted the children in order to
receive as much as $2 million in welfare payments.
another instance, authorities arrested a man from Ohio who
attempted to rent two girls, ages 9 and 12, to abuse them
Again—all these stories occurred in July of this year.
Such atrocities occur frequently. The reality is, brutality
and callousness are spreading. Most of us, when we hear such
stories, turn the page or switch channels and never really
think about what is happening. This failure to
confront reality reflects a certain heartlessness toward the
suffering of our fellow human beings.
are so few asking how parents are simply falling out of love
with their children? What is the cause? Only when
this is understood can brutality be eradicated. Only by
knowing the cause can we learn how to protect our
families from being besieged by such tragedy.
causes for this pervasive spirit of callousness are both
physical and spiritual in nature. On the physical level,
Western culture and society devalues life and worships
violence and death.
Consider the television shows, movies, music and video games
that comprise the mental diet of millions. Hardcore
violence, sexual deviancy and macabre murders form the
plotlines of the most popular television shows. Shows like
CSI and Law and Order are built around
violence so graphic and ghoulish that it’s beyond the
imagination of most people—until it’s sitting in their
living room at prime time. A sort of justice is often
served, but the road to it is strewn with decapitated heads,
decomposing bodies and heinous sexual deviancy including
rape, incest and bestiality. A generation ago it would have
been unthinkable to show such scenes on television; today
they plaster every network.
These shows not only desensitize viewers to senseless and
lurid violence, human pain and suffering and odious images
of death—they also gradually whittle down the viewers’
respect and appreciation for the preciousness of human life.
Consider the programming designed for our children. Some
cartoons contain even more acts of violence than adult
programming. Could the repeated killings and acts of
senseless butchery on television and the big screen have any
connection with the younger generation’s increasing loss of
respect for human life? What are these images doing to our
children’s minds, to their understanding of the sanctity of
Consider popular music. Rap and hip-hop singers frequently
boast about killing police, engaging in gang warfare and
practicing perverted sex. Look at the tidal wave of video
games deluging society; they are charged with unspeakable
blood and gore, sexual innuendos and images, graphic sadism
and violence, death and destruction. Callousness toward
human misery is epitomized in these games, just as in many
of the most popular television shows and music genres.
point is, Western culture idolizes brutality and violence.
Human suffering has become a source of entertainment rather
than something that saddens and disgusts us. Horror movies
with disturbing plotlines and grisly death scenes are among
the most popular for teens. tv
and movie producers behave as if the more gross the scene,
the more captivating it will be.
Protect Your Family From
protect ourselves and our family members, we must make a
stand against these psychological assaults. We must build a
virtual wall around our homes; monitor what travels in and
out of our children’s minds, turn off violent television
shows, discard graphic video games.
Proper education will also help protect our families. As
children mature, they do need to come to understand the
reality of the world they live in; they should be taught
that violence, brutal crimes and horrible events do occur.
But this kind of knowledge should be given in stages, as the
child grows in the mental and emotional maturity to handle
it. Young children do not need gruesome details swimming
around in their heads.
we’re not careful, television and video games will program
our children to consider human suffering as no big deal.
Counter this influence by explaining that violence and death
should not be taken casually. Introduce children to the
realities of this world in a manner that will arouse their
compassion and empathy, not sear their minds. Teach them
that nothing justifies violent retribution or the embracing
of cruelty, and that grisly crimes should never be glorified
as the media tends to do. Educate your children to respect
and value life.
Most importantly, we must educate our families on God’s
perspective on human life. We must teach that God has a
great purpose for mankind and deeply values every human
life. Show children that a godly mind is repulsed by
brutality and saddened by suffering.
Request a free copy of
The Incredible Human Potential. It will prove an
ideal textbook in this education.
The Ultimate Cause
ultimate cause of the brutality pervading our society is
spiritual in nature.
It’s easy to accept that those committing these unspeakable
acts have mental, emotional and spiritual voids—but what
about the societies that have produced such people and grown
callous to barbarism?
person who doesn’t cherish and respect the sanctity of life,
any mind not repulsed by cruelty and sickened by
suffering, also suffers a desperate spiritual and mental
simply, the cause for the loss of natural affection is
disobedience to God’s spiritual and physical laws of love.
same God who created mankind created law. His laws, both
physical and spiritual, were designed to protect His
creation. God designed law to ensure that we value, respect,
enhance and nurture that creation—especially human life.
Today, man despises law. We complain that it infringes on
our freedom to live the way we want. But the Bible tells us
that the law God created is good (1 Timothy 1:8). It
shows that submission to God’s law brings the excellent,
profitable and blessed results God intended for human
What happens when God’s law is rejected, despised, ridiculed
and trampled on? Well, look around. The state of mankind
today—the wars and violence, greed and vanity, sexual
perversion, broken families, plagues and diseases, economic
calamity, depression—is all the product of broken laws.
Disobedience drives a person inward; it propels one to
become self-absorbed, entirely devoted to satisfying selfish
desires and lusts.
This is why millions are unaffected by the suffering
occurring around them. Selfishness is the mental state of
mankind, just as the Apostle Paul said: Most men are “lovers
of self” and “utterly self-centered”—everything they do
revolves around pleasing themselves. The more intense a
person’s self-absorption, the more he or she neglects the
needs, cares and sufferings of others.
This is against the law—God’s law!
people obeyed God’s commandments, the tragic incidents so
common in our daily news would never occur. If all men
obeyed the spiritual intent of God’s law—if they valued the
welfare of others above their own—crime would cease; child
abuse would end; there would be no violence, no murders.
People who are obedient to God’s law are striving to be
selfless; they are more concerned about pleasing God and
respecting and loving fellow man than about pleasing
themselves. This is why the Apostle James called God’s law
“the law of liberty” (James 1:25). It frees people
from the fruits of selfishness.
Obedience will protect you. It will prevent you from growing
heartless to human suffering. It will guarantee that you and
your children develop into loving, warm, caring individuals.
Obedience to God’s law will help you become more kind and
Millions of people claim they possess love today. But how
does their claim measure against what the Apostle Paul wrote
about God’s love? “Owe no man any thing, but to love one
another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
… Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is
the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10). Love and
obedience to God’s law walk side by side. In order to be a
loving person, to be a person overflowing with right emotion
and an outward focus, you must fulfill, or obey, the law of
Herbert W. Armstrong explained the connection between love
and obedience further. “The whole law of God is summed up in
one word—love! And it
requires love expressed in action to fulfill the law.
But this law-principle of love is subdivided into the
two Great Commandments—love toward God, and love toward
neighbor. The first four of the Ten Commandments define love
toward God. The last six tell us how to love
neighbor. … ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’
Of course that is a lot of love!” (The
Missing Dimension in Sex).
Though mankind despises God’s commandments, the fact is that
they are the ultimate solution to this callous,
loveless world! If Derris Smith obeyed God’s law, little
Malakai Glenn would still be alive today. It is that simple.
you prepared to confront the cause of the tragic
realities in this world? Are you willing to ask why
human suffering is so widespread, how the planet has
gone berserk on brutality and what will the ultimate
solution be? Answering these questions will demand you
realize some harsh and horrible truths about the state of
this world. But the answers will open up knowledge
that will bring joy, excitement, happiness and hope. They
will provide a personal sense of fulfillment and inner peace