And she started using drugs at the age of seven

A defendant was recently sentenced to ten years in prison for her lengthy pattern of serious drug abuse and thefts.  This was not terribly unusual, however the following discourse was different, and it filled many in the court with pity and compassion.

Judge:               You understand that your bad choices have put you here.

Defendant:     Yes, your honor, I know.

Judge:               I’m sure your family is disappointed in you.

Defendant:     They are.

Judge:               How long have you been using drugs?

Defendant:     Since I was seven.

I have talked in a previous blog about the age of accountability.  Mormons believe that eight is the age when children have become aware of their choices and have sufficient self-control to make those choices.  But, what about this case?  Knowing the highly addictive nature of all drugs, when did this woman become accountable? 

The Bible speaks of a parent’s responsibility to teach children and to bring them up in the ways of light and goodness.  Because of the sin of the parents here, a child, now a grown woman, has borne a lifelong disease of darkness and bondage.  Can a child be guilty for the sin of the parents?

It seems to me that there were many stopping points along her way.  A neighbor?  A teacher?  A friend’s mom?  When should we step in and break a cycle such as this? 

Can we all commit to opening our eyes and being a little more aware of the people around us? Can we commit to an act of kindness that may make someone’s life a bit easier today?  I believe that we show our love for humanity by helping others along our way.  

You never know a life you may save.

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