32 year old Aaron Stillday was arrested in Minnesota for punching an eight-year-old boy for an iPad. The boy fell to the ground with a bloody face and innumerable psychological wounds to heal. The iPad cracked on the concrete and was rendered useless. A Good Samaritan, restaurant owner Mohammad Armeli, came to the rescue.
But the question remains: could you love Aaron Stillday as the Bible instructs us?
Could you love a man who cold cocks an innocent child in broad daylight?
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. … But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:32-36)
Luckily, Mohammad Armeli of Christos restaurant was nearby at the time of the assault and called 911. He chased Stillday for a half mile and then held him up against a fence until cops arrived.
Here’s what he said of Stillday — and I agree 100%.
Get the criminals off the street so we can walk freely, you know? Poor kid. I can’t believe that blood was all over his face. This is the scum of the earth. You can not hit a child like that. … As I was told, he was arrested 60 times. I can’t believe they let him out.
Indeed, Mr. Stillday is the “scum of the earth.” How is it possible that we have a criminal justice system that could let such a man commit 60 such crimes and continue to walk the city streets? People complain about the cost of keeping men like Stillday behind bars, but how to do you quantify the cost on the young boy’s mind and soul after having been randomly punched on a city street? What price will the boy pay now that he no longer can believe that he is safe with his mother and father, aunt or uncle right next to him? How do you put a number on what Mr. Stillday’s crimes have cost the entire community?
Regardless, the point is that it is easy to love Mohammad Armeli — loving the “scum of the earth” is the challenging part.
We should love Mohammad because he did the right thing. We should love him because he selflessly sacrificed himself (what if Mr. Stillday had a gun or a knife?) for what he believed was the right and just thing to do. We should love him because he stood up for his community — complete strangers on one level, but brothers on the only level that really matters. However, we should also pray for Aaron Stillday.
The mind of Mohammad Armeli has obviously been tended to with seeds we associate with kindness, generosity, and justice. However, somewhere along the way Aaron Stillday allowed poisonous fruit to flourish in his head, which has routinely (more than 60 times!) manifested into our physical reality. He must pay for his crimes, but I also believe that we have a responsibility to offer him the kind of psychological and spiritual seeds he can use — it’s his choice — to heal.
Nobody was brought to this planet to exist as the “scum of the earth.” We all have a higher purpose and were meant to achieve great things. Some people have had their mind warped, and they forget where they really come from. (What are the chances Aaron was punched as a child? I’d say it’s a good bet.) They forget their true nature, and when they do that they are susceptible to becoming the monsters of this realm. It is up to us to show them the light, and one of the ways we can do that is by loving the monster.
If you get a chance, I ask you to pray for Aaron Stillday.
Editors note for regular readers: I’ve been updating you on the progress I’m making with my book. The message in Luke 6:32-36 is an important part my project. In fact, I would say it’s at least 33.3% of it. For those of you who are upset at this, just know that I also have a character who is much more Johnny Cash… If you’re not of fan of my character Luke, you’ll enjoy Michael. I’ll leave my third main character a mystery for now.