March 24, 2022

(A SPIRITUAL solution to a SOCIAL problem)

A B.A.L.M. in Monroe is a collaborative plan that every citizen, elected and appointed official, clergyman, and organization can participate in to help improve the image of Monroe while inspiring at-risk males to take more responsibility for their actions and respect the lives and property of others. This is a Balanced Approach to Lower the violent crime and Murder rate in Monroe. A balm is a creamy salve made from selected plants that are used as a medicine to treat or heal wounds. The maker of the balm carefully measures and mixes the ingredients to create a good product that contains a balanced combination of strength and texture to meet the patient's specific needs. After achieving the desired potency and consistency, the practitioner applies the ointment by rubbing it upon the patient's skin near the area of the wound that is causing pain. For the purpose of this proposal, the “patient” is a male who is at risk of committing violent crimes because they function outside the realm of conventional thinking and are exhibiting unacceptable behaviors that negatively affect our community. This effort is proposed to address the concern of a surgeon performing an operation and is guided by the compassion illustrated in the parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Just as the wounded man in that familiar passage of scripture was stripped of his clothes (v. 30), these young men have apparently been deprived of basic human dignity as they intentionally wear their pants loosely, allowing their underwear (and in some cases, their buttocks) to be exposed for public view. Many of them lack the covering of a wholesome family structure that could provide a buffer to protect them from the alluring call of gangs, drugs, and the criminal element that lurks in the streets. A single mother heads the majority of their households, and they rarely have a healthy relationship with their fathers or other strong male figures that could positively influence their perspectives on life, basic manhood principles, and the duties of being a good citizen. The scripture mentions that the man fell (tripped over something he did not see) among thieves (people that disguise themselves to hide their true intentions), suggesting that he was in that condition due to his failure to detect or recognize the factors that would ultimately contribute to his fall (v. 30). While in this predicament, the patient is an exposed and vulnerable target for the fiery darts of wicked influences that hide

1. Behind the beat and in the lyrics of rap songs that glorify violence, promote the disrespect of women, and endorse gang and drug culture,

2. Inside the graphic images of video games that subliminally

desensitize young minds to the finality of death, and

3. Beneath the foundations of social media platforms that encourage the acquisition of wealth by any means necessary.

Like the man in the illustration left half-dead beside the road to Jericho, many of these young men are mentally dead, emotionally numb and cold-hearted, spiritually blind, and appear to have lost respect for human life (including their own) (v. 30). Please stay tuned for part two in the next Monroe Dispatch.


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