How should we remember Javon Belcher?
Javon Belcher has been big national news for the past four or five days, even bigger here in Kansas City where I live. The details have been sketchy. Some sources have reported that his girlfriend stayed out too late last Friday night, others report that it was Belcher that was out too late. Whatever the case, Belcher shot her multiple times on Saturday, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of his coaches.
The details are irrelevant. How great a person Belcher may have been before this past Saturday is irrelevant. What is relevant is that this 25 year old man got upset, killed his girlfriend then killed himself, leaving his infant daughter with no parents. It’s clear that Belcher was dealing with some issues that he didn’t know how to handle. It’s a sad narrative.
Whatever it was that pushed him over the edge we may never know. What we do know is that on Saturday morning he became a murderer. He committed a terrible crime that ruined a lot of lives. So how should we remember him?
The truth is that if he hadn’t also turned the gun on himself, he would unquestionably be viewed as a monster–the killer of his daughter’s mother. His suicide complicates things. The fact that he was an NFL player complicates things. The Chiefs played it brilliantly by having a moment of silence for victims of domestic abuse rather than for Belcher. If the focus were given solely to him, it would’ve been insensitive to the family of the woman who’s life he took. It’s a difficult situation.
I won’t tell you how to feel about Belcher. I feel sorry for him. Yes, the crime was awful, but I’m thinking beyond that. I can’t say for certain where Belcher will spend his eternity, but I do know that he killed someone then killed himself. If he died instantly, it’s unlikely that he had time to surrender his life to the Lord. I hope that somehow he did.
At this point we can only pray for the strength of the families of all those involved.
Until next time…