Beckett: A Telltale Murder

Sarah walked into Pastor Ben’s office at the scheduled time. He invited her to sit in a La-Z-Boy armchair.

“I have something to confess, Pastor,” she said.

“Do you desire absolution as well?” he asked.

She thought for a few seconds and said, “Mmm, no, not really.”

“All right, we can work through that. What is it that you’d like to confess?”

“I killed someone a few days ago.”

Pastor Ben was shocked. Should he immediately call the authorities? Is he in any danger? In case he was in danger, Pastor Ben decided to try to have a calm conversation with her before he had her leave and call the police.

“Okay,” Pastor Ben finally said. “Who did you kill?”

“I don’t know her name.”

“All right. Well, when you killed her, how did you feel afterwards?”

“It felt… liberating,” Sarah said, trying to think of the best word to describe murder.

“What makes you say that?” Pastor Ben asked.

“I’m not sure where to begin to answer that.”

“Well, how did you feel the next day? What emotions were you feeling?”

She thought for a few seconds and said, “Relief, I guess.”

“Why relief?”

“Well, now I was no longer stressed about her. She was constantly getting in my way, compromising my future. I couldn’t even get a promotion because of her. So, I did the only thing I could for the sake of my own convenience.”

“So, in your view, she was an inconvenience to you at work—”

“And in my social life,” Sarah interjected.

“Right,” Pastor Ben continued. “Why do you think it’s right to kill another person just because they’re inconvenient to you?”

Sarah became defensive. “It’s my life; I can live however I want.”

“But if that were true for everyone, then all of life would be in chaos. People would die left and right.”

“Well, maybe that’s how it should be. I mean, it’s natural selection, right? The strongest kill off the weakest. There shouldn’t be a law against the natural order of things!”

“What if someone viewed you as an inconvenience to their life and killed you for it because you hindered their promotion and interfered with their social life? Would that be right?”

“That wouldn’t happen because obviously I’m among the fit.”

“That’s not very logical, Sarah. In the ‘natural order of things,’ there is always someone bigger and stronger than you are. Even the world’s most vicious predator gets killed off. Consider the world’s most vicious predators in the dinosaur eras. Even their order of things was killed off. Eventually, even the strongest die. Eventually, according to your worldview, someone bigger, stronger, and better than you would come along and kill you. And, according to you, that should be okay, and there should be no justice for your murder.”

Sarah was silent.

“So,” Pastor Ben continued, “the first day after you killed her, you felt relief.”

“Yes,” Sarah said.

“Did you at any point feel regret?”

“No. Why should I? Others said it was the right thing to do. Why should I feel any regret?”

Pastor Ben wasn’t sure which issue to tackle first: the accomplices to murder or her lack of regret? He decided to face the issue currently in his control: her lack of regret.

“Do you believe all life is sacred?” Pastor Ben asked.

“I do believe all life is sacred. Well, actually,” she caught herself, “up to a certain point. If a man rapes a woman, for example, he forfeits the sanctity of his life.”

“So, if a person commits a grave crime, their life is no longer sacred?”

“Yes.”

“That would include your own life then, since you killed someone.”

“Well, you see, Pastor Ben,” she leaned forward in her chair, her arms in her lap, “I didn’t consider her to be human.”

“That’s surprising. Why do you get to decide who’s human and who’s not?”

“Because she was directly impeding my life!” Sarah yelled. “When a person impedes the life of another person, they’re not worth being called human. What ‘person’ would do that? People do not interfere with other peoples’ lives.”

“So, according to your logic, if you impeded another person’s life, they should have the right to kill you.”

“Well, I would never do that, Pastor.”

“Not intentionally?”

“Of course not!”

“What if you did it unintentionally?” Sarah didn’t reply. “Is it not possible for someone to unintentionally impede your life? To unintentionally hinder some progress?” Sarah remained silent. “That’s what this person was allegedly doing. She didn’t have any clue she was ‘impeding’ your life, or preventing you from living life how you’ve envisioned, if that’s truly what was going on. There was no way she could be aware. So, what gives you the right to decide whose life is worth living?”

“Well,” Sarah finally said, “there’s my anonymity. It’s my life, my body, and I get to do whatever I want with it.”

“How does that give you the right to do what you want with another person’s body?”

“Don’t you get it? It’s my life!”

Pastor Ben was silent for a moment, stunned at her irrationality. “Okay then, if it’s your body, where did you get it?” Sarah didn’t say anything. “If your body belongs to you, where did you go and get it?”

“What are you getting at?” she asked suspiciously.

“Psalm 139 speaks of God creating us in the womb, knowing every little thing about us before we were even conceived—every cell, tissue, DNA makeup, and personality we would come to form. He created your body, and He gave you your body through your parents. Your body does not belong to you; your body belongs to God. As First Corinthians says, ‘You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.’ Christ bled and died for you, Sarah. Not only does your body belong to God as a creature of God, but as a person of faith you especially belong to Him since He bled and died for your body so you may receive a new one upon His return when He resurrects us from the dead. Even more, we have no right to claim any authority over a person’s body and decide whether or not they deserve to live, as all people—believers or not—are creatures created by God whom He loves and desires they know Him.”

Sarah burned with a furious rage. “God doesn’t get to tell me how I can use my body! He’s a bigot and a sexist! It’s my life and I get to do what I want with it! And if someone inconveniences my life, I have the right to stop their harm!”

Pastor Ben sighed and asked, “How old was she when you killed her?”

Sarah leaned back into the chair and said, “Oh, I wasn’t even in my second trimester yet!”

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