Tag Archives: depraved heart

Examining the Depraved Heart

WPTV_FREDDIE_GRAY_1430492578902_17662111_ver1.0_320_240Clearly, I am still thinking about the death of Freddie Gray and Officer Goodson, one of six officers charged with crimes that led to his untimely death.  Officer Goodson has been charged with second degree depraved heart murder.  Thanks to a twenty- four- hour news cycle and countless crime shows, I am too familiar with the charge of second degree murder.  Perhaps, I have become desensitized and disconnected because this tragedy is performed for my entertainment season after season finale with heart- pounding scene cutaways and climactic music.

But, I have been jarred by the video of Freddie Gray’s arrest; Kevin Moore, the man who captured the last moments he was seen alive, has come forward.  This is not reality television; we are watching real life.  While questions are being raised regarding the knife that was in Mr. Gray’s possession and subsequently, the legality of his arrest is being argued for and against, I am stuck.  I can’t move on until we deal with this depraved heart.

A young man has died while in police custody; that cannot be argued.  The fact of his funeral cannot be changed or altered.  Is the mourning over?  Has our heart healed?  Have we even acknowledged the depth of loss due to his death and the trust for the law that has seemingly been broken again?

Our relationship with each other has taken another blow.  Will we just prepare ourselves for the next offense?  Or, will we stop to examine how we got here and why we do not want this to happen again?  Will we set up boundaries to ensure mutual respect?  Will we get to the heart of the matter at all?

Why are the images of Gray’s arrest upsetting?  What expectations for human relationships regardless of position have not been met?  And how can we raise the standard of our living together?  When did we stop caring about each other?  When did our heart change and become hardened?  They talk about hardened criminals but I wonder if we have become hardened human beings.  How could our heart turn away and allow a man to die not in the arms of a loved one or in presence of family and friends but alone with hands and feet bound on the cold floor of a police van?  That the heart of the matter; that’s the evidence that I want examined.

The Heart Fixer

6a00e550d89fd98834017c3239d721970b-500wi“The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse– who can understand it?  I the Lord tests the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.”

~ Jeremiah 17.9-10, NRSV

Officer Goodson has been charged with second degree depraved heart murder in the death of twenty- five year old Baltimore native Freddie Gray.  My mind is still reeling from State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s detailed report, a play- by- play of the last moments of Mr. Gray’s life.  He was seemingly surrounded by people who did not have a heart for him.  Numerous times they decided not to help him, to ignore his pleas for assistance.  These police officers, sworn to serve the public, chose to turn their hearts against him.

A fan of crime shows, I am familiar with the phrase cold- blooded murder but I have never heard of the charge of depraved heart murder.  Depraved. Morally corrupt.  Wicked.  Officer Goodson is charged with having a wicked heart.

I don’t know what the prescription would be to change it.  I am not certain of the ways we would follow up to ensure healing and wholeness.  I am not aware of a rehabilitation center or therapy that might help us.  But, I do know the God who has been called the Heart Fixer and if God can soften stony hearts, then certainly, God can fix the wicked heart.  I pray that God would heal the hearts of all the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray and that we might have a heart for them, that we would not deprive them of a fair hearing and the due process of law.  Amen.