I find the neighbors of serial killers fascinating.
Someone (most commonly a white male) kills a whole lot a people, often in the most gruesome of ways imaginable. He keeps his heinous deeds hidden from everyone around him. The community where the murders occur gets put on edge as the number of deaths continue to pile up. Sometimes the serial killer does strange things to the bodies of those he kills, like cut them up and put them in his freezer. If it is found that the killer favors a certain type of victim, people matching the description are told exercise extreme caution.
And what do the neighbors say after the killer is caught?
“We had no idea!”
“He seemed so normal.”
“It’s hard to believe that he would kill anyone.”
Every time and without fail the neighbors are completely caught off guard by the fact that a killer lived among them. Of course it would be silly for them to think or say anything else.
Reporter: “Did you have any idea that your neighbor was the serial killer?”
Neighbor: “Absolutely! He always carried an ax with him and when we passed him on the sidewalk he would mutter something about us being on his kill-list. The guy was insane, filled with rage, and wore blood-stained clothes. At the last neighborhood party he brought a dish he called “Human Brain Casserole.” We figured it was him.”
Reporter: “Seriously!?!? Why didn’t you tell the police?”
Neighbor: “We didn’t want to intrude.”
This just doesn’t happen. People who are serial killers do not want their neighbors to know that they are serial killers. Hiding in plain sight is important if they are going to fulfill their bloody desires. Having suspicious neighbors causes problems when the goal is to increase the body count. Not allowing others to find out how bad they are is of utmost importance.
You and I are the same way.
Let’s be honest for a moment. We’ve both said, done, and thought things that we try to keep secret. Let’s be more honest. These aren’t just past occurrences, they are also present realities.
Our kids misbehave and the rage ensues with hurtful words being spewed before we can get a grip. Others may see us as level-headed and calm. The real “us” can only hope that one day this will be true.
Anger fills our hearts over being mistreated and we wish ill will on those who caused the scars. Instead of praying for them, we curse them day after day. Gossip that assassinates another’s character is too juicy to ignore, so we join in. Kicking people while they are down becomes a habit that is difficult to overcome.
Lustful thoughts enter the minds of many and plans are made to act upon them. Marriages get broken up slowly while those around the suffering couple wonder how it could have happened to people who seem so happy. Stealing, if it includes small things from the office or that pay-per-view event that you didn’t pay to view, is rampant. What’s the big deal?
We lie to get out of trouble or to keep from getting into trouble and justify it quickly so guilt doesn’t have time to set in. We may say we like truth, but our own words condemn us.
We aren’t all that we should be. We try to hide it and are successful most of the time. The parts that are wicked get dressed up to feel not quite so bad. It’s not just parts of us that are bad. We are bad. All of us.
The only good thing about how bad we are is that God’s goodness is better than our badness. He knows we sin and fail, yet loves us anyway. With His arms spread wide He beckons us in all of our wickedness to come to Him. And when we come to Him with contrition and repentance declaring faith in Jesus, we are forgiven. Wiped clean. Made whole.
It’s all because of this fabulous truth: The one who knows us the best loves us the most.