Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.” (Luke 17:1-3)
Cannon Hinnant, a five-year old child, was murdered by his neighbor, Darius Sessoms, for riding his bike on his grass. Dante Salvador responded to the murder on facebook: “Blew his little white privileged brains clean out of his head. #Black Lives Matter.” I did a devotional on George Floyd who was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis policeman. I am urged also to do one also for Cannon Hinnant and his family. Hinnant’s sisters witnessed the execution-style murder.
We all make fun of the crotchety elder on the street who yells at a child who touches a blade of their grass, but this story is a new level of racism and hate crime. Yesterday we learned that God has mercy for all. Does that include Darius Sessoms and Derek Chauvin who clearly don’t know Jesus. (I am judging.)
God is clear that Sessoms and Chauvin will be punished severely. “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their necks.” They have caused little ones to stumble. (I think God views all people as his little ones.) It is doubtful the Hinnant family is thinking about Cannon running blissfully through heaven. It is probable his sisters are suffering from nightmares and his parents are second-guessing themselves for letting their children play outside. “If only …” And they may be thinking, like many do. “If there is a God, how could He let this happen?” This question is the greatest stumbling block.
But God doesn’t have anything to do with murders. God gave humans free will. I imagine Jesus came down from heaven, comforted Cannon, and escorted Cannon to heaven himself. I wish everyone could see God’s love. His love doesn’t see the color of people’s skin, and it doesn’t let little children suffer. He mourns with us as His Holy Spirit wraps His love around us. If He truly has mercy on Sessoms and Chauvin, His love far surpasses mine. But only God knows how Sessoms and Chavin have grown into such deep hatred. Clearly, they have been stoned with stumbling blocks throughout their lives. Hate is passed down just as love is. So, let us watch ourselves and pass down nothing that can be interpreted by a little one as hate. Let us pass down love.
Dearest Heavenly Father, help the Hinnant family feel your love. Bless them and give them double what Sessoms took away. Let those little Hinnant girls believe you are comforting their brother in heaven and know You’re not responsible for his death. Let me shine my light in darkness and pass down love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.