I have the world’s most beautiful and precious two year old girl. Okay, I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes, “I am biased.” But I love my daughter more than nearly anyone in the whole world (with the exception of her mother who I love even more). But after having seen the movie Taken just last weekend my fathering was deeply challenged.

If you’re not familiar with Taken let me bring you up to speed. In the movie Liam Neeson plays retired CIA vet, Bryan Mills, who has moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his daughter whom he saw little of while serving his country. His daughter (Maggie Grace) loves her dad but is, like most teens, more interested in hanging out with friends. But when she goes on a trip to Paris and is abducted and sold as a sex slave it is her father who risks all and will stop at nothing to get her back. In many ways it’s a very basic film. It is not about sex traffiking, despite what some think. Sex trafficking is really nothing more than a vehicle that allows Neeson to kick butt for the next hour. But it is an intense thriller that led me to contemplate just how far I would go to save my daughter.

One scene in particular caught me off guard. While in Paris tracking down the kidnappers Neeson visits the home of an old friend in French government. He demands information from this friend, who refuses to give it. And then, without warning, Bryan pulls out a gun and shoots the man’s wife in the arm yelling that if he doesn’t give him the information the next bullet will go between her eyes. At that moment I thought to myself, “Could I do that?” If my daughter’s life was at stake could I shoot the wife of an old friend for information? Let aside the fact that I’ve never killed anything and know that I don’t have the skills to kill a room full of awful criminals, but do I have the guts to flesh wound a friend? Then it occurred to me that I was, in fact, probaby just like most fathers.

Most fathers couldn’t do that, I assume, and thankfully most of us won’t ever have to do that. And in my little world what my daughter most needs is not a daddy who can fight off terrorists and kidnappers at the drop of a hat but a daddy who can spare time to read and play with his little princess. Where I think many fathers get it wrong is in the simple day-to-day stuff. This doesn’t mean I should be a wimp and a coward who can’t defend his family, but it does mean that I need to prioritize my life. I need to remember that God wants me to raise my children, not simply rescue them. So, interestingly enough, Taken has challenged me in my fathering, but in a way that is totally the opposite of what it presents. Fathers, simply be with your kids and let that be the primary way you “rescue them.”


32 Comments

  1. I would pop off rounds for any of the women in my family. My mom, my sister, my wife. You let one of those sick SOB’s hurt them and the killing would begin, I wouldn’t waste my time with the bs of the cops and lawyers, and judges and juries. Give me a gun and point me in the right direction.

    Just like those sick ‘s, in california that raped that girl. Everyone should be tried for rape. Not just the ones that raped her, but the “passers-by” that saw, and photographed, and recorded the event. 20+ people are being saught for rape, and dozens more for being witnesses to the crime. The person who called the cops didn’t see it happening, they just heard about what was going on from people who had went, watched, and left as if it were a movie. For 2.5 hours she was being raped and beaten almost to death, and lots of people just came, did what they wanted, and went as they pleased.

    You may think this story has no relevance, but it does. The girl was “supposedly” on her way to meet her father to go home. (At least thats the way I read it, I could be wrong, and please correct me if I am)What kind of father sits around for 2 and 1/2 hours and doesn’t go looking for her? I’ll bet that guy is wondering about his parenting skills about now.

    As a side note, we need to pray for this girl, and all of the trauma she will have to face. But we also need to pray for the people involved, and I don’t mean that they will feel sorry, or apologize, or that they would find Jesus. We need to pray that God’s hand will come down on them and that they would face the maximum punishment for these crimes. If they wanted mercy then maybe they should have shown mercy.

  2. Ah, nothing like taking the role of a sociopath in the name of protecting What’s Yours, eh Jason?

    @David – Yeah, personally, I probably wouldn’t shoot my friend’s wife in order get information he may have that might contribute to the safety of my daughter. Neeson’s character, in the moment he threatens the wife, becomes exactly the same as those whom he is hunting. He feels the liberty to toy with the lives of the innocent. Good job guy, way to turn from sympathetic character to despicable human in a matter of seconds.

  3. Yeah in all fairness I would have shot the guy not his wife. But then again I have yet to see the movie, I am only going by the discription David is giving.

    But shooting someone to get information is not anything like the guys he is hunting.

    By the way Dane, protection someone or something that is yours by any means is not becoming a sociopath, it is being the head of the household. It is being a man. Most humans (singular) would kill someone to save or protect a loved one, but people (plural) think comitting a crime to prevent another crime is wrong. Let the bad guy do what he wants and punish him later. Oh and let the cops do it. It’s hard to say you would never kill someone to protect your family if you have never been in that situation. Let that happen to you and I guarantee you would not sit back and do nothing. And if you did, well you have real issues. You as a man should be willing to give your life to save and protect a woman or child.

    It is as plain as carrying a conceald weapon. Are you the guy who shoots or are you the guy who falls. Will you stop a criminal, a possible murderer, your murderer, or will you lose your life so he can once again commit a crime. When someone pulls a gun on you they willingly made their choice, you were forced to make yours.

    LIke I stated before, I havent seen the movie, but I assume he gets the information he needs from his “friend”. Did thta information save his daughter? Then was it justified? Should he have sat on his hands and hoped that the police would have the passion, and ferver to search for his daughter the way he did? Should he just sit around and wait till she was returned? Alive or in a body bag? Or should he have fulfilled the role that God intended and protected his family? If he hadn’t done those things then he wouldn’t have found his daughter.

  4. Great thoughts here David. I watch TAKEN a few months back and was stirred by the why the father relentlessly chased after his daughter. Couldn’t help but think how God does the same thing for us when we take a wrong turn and get caught up in something we can’t escape. I saw the father as The Father. God is fighting for us everyday, yet we always seem to fall for the friendly guy at the airport who wants to share a cab. We need to be alert and ready for the enemy’s traps.

    I’m a father to a nearly two-year old son. I want to raise him knowing that there are a few things worth dying for (and killing for) and those things should be treasured and cared for above all else.

    I do agree that bringing the innocent into your hunt for justice is taking it a bit too far. Save the bullets for the bad guys.

  5. Great thoughts Kevin. I hadn’t really compared the father of the story with The Father, but it’s certainly true that God chases after us when we get swept away by evil (either caused by our own ignorance, or the result of evil people). Thank God!

  6. “Protection someone or something that is yours by any means is not becoming a sociopath.”

    Actually, yes. It is.

    Ignoring the inclusion of “something that is yours,” it’s the by any means that treads the boards of sociopathy. By pathologically ignoring the conventions of society that are put in place to legally deal with crime and doing anything you want so long as you feel that it will help meet your goal of protecting Innocent Person A (regardless if it harms Innocent Persons B, C, D, and F), you have well entered into the realm of the sociopath.

    By any means could include torturing a child, murdering policemen who would rather a criminal go to trial, and killing off members of your enemy’s family one by one until he let’s your wife/daughter/favourite dog go free.

    I’ll add that applying such methods to someone who harmed your wife or child does not fall under the heading of “protection.” If your daughter was raped, you are not protecting her by hunting down and killing her assailant.

    And being a man has nothing to do with nothing.

  7. Was it Nietschze who said, “be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

    And does this apply? “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matt 26:52

  8. Dane your right, hunting down and killing the man that raped my daughter would not be protecting her, but it would be protecting other women. Women who, if I sat around and did nothing, would otherwise possibly be raped.

    In any case sitting around saying God will take care of it, is a fools way of thinking. God expects us to take care of ourselves, that is the way he created us. He expects us to deal with criminals, and not wait around for Him to throw lightning bolts. For anything short of that would be done by a humans hands. It’s funny when people think this way, because, God uses man for His work. God didn’t kill Goliath, instead God gave David the talent, and skill, and heart to do it. David contributed faith. God didn’t save the Isrealites, instead God lead Moses’ mother to send Moses down the river which in turn allowed Moses to become a leader that would save Gods people. God could have just killed the Egyptians, but instead he wanted a sign of faith from His people to give them thier freedom.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, we are lacking law in this country. If people would go back to capitol punishment, less crimes would occur. To think, you will lose your life if you do this, or if you do that, one would think more thoroughly before doing said crime. Instead someone goes out and kills a store clerk for $500 and when caught, our justice system says “hey, he was poor and needed to feed his family. The stress from the collapsing economy forced him into a mental instability” then the murderer goes to a mental facility, because the jury was lead to feel sorry for him. Well boo hoo, he has a mental problem. A store clerk is dead. A family is missing a brother, a father, a son, all because we said he was justified (whatever the crap that means) in doing it. That fine example goes through the head of a 20yr old thug who thinks “man I can get off easy if I just ack all crazy an stuff” And he kills someone simple because he wanted to, and “how bad can the punishment be. Only a few states have capitol punishment, and life in prison is better than out here in the streets.”

    It makes no sense, a man can rape your daughter, cause her years, if not a lifetime, of trauma, and he gets 20+/- years in prison. Yep sounds like justice to me. Did you know in many cases child molestation is only jailable after the 2ND offense. Dang lets let them do it once, give them an ankle braclet and if they do it again then we’ll put them in jail.

    The reason I would pull the trigger is because I know that I cannot trust anyone else to do what is necessary. Nor can I trust that he will be put away or handled properly.

    @ Chase
    “52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish[f] by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

    If the disciples had killed the soldiers that had come to take Jesus away then the scriptures would not have been fulfilled, and we would not have salvation. So in context that verse only pertains to that moment, and to those disciples. If it were for everyone, then I would draw my sword, then Bob would kill me with his, Dane would kill Bob with his, Chase would kill Dane with his…ect…

  9. Jason, how would you deal with the fact that the Bible says we are to be subject to the law and the ruling authorities? Jesus lived in an era when the government conditioned all sorts of murders and social injustices and yet he nowhere endorses either vigilantism, anarchism, or rebellion. Thoughts?

  10. Hey David –
    The government that existed at that time was a dictatorship. Not a republic or a democracy. Well – I should clarify – for the Jews, it was a dictatorship. They were under the rule of Herod, who was set in place by Rome.
    But WE are our government, for better or worse. So in my opinion, the rulebook changes a bit.
    In Leviticus, we are told to stone a woman who commits adultery to death. But do you know how she was found guilty? She was served a drink with dirt from the temple floor in it – if she remained healthy, she was innocent – if she became sick, she was guilty. This was DIRECT intervention by God, and it was foolproof. Today we have juries – fallible, messed up people.
    Think about that next time you – not you personally, I don’t know YOU :) – use an old testament verse to justify the death penalty. In this country, it is the people who make the decisions. And so they make mistakes. And therefore, I don’t believe that taking another person’s life into our hands is sanctioned by God.

  11. Jason,

    So, just so I clearly understand what you’re argument is based on this is what you’ve said: because the Jews lived under a dictatorship they had to obey the law, but since we live in a democracy we don’t have to obey the law.

    You’re certainly entitled to that opinion, but it is nothing more than your opinion and has no theological, Biblical, and or “logical” basis. In fact it seems like it would make more sense not to obey the law in an evil dictatorship than in a government where we can help determine its direction and policies. But in fact Jesus’ statement doesn’t seem to take into consideration in any way the form of rule. So, again, just some thoughts.

  12. Frankly, Jason, you come off as a little scary. It’s not clear to me how what you’re saying is any different than “If someone cuts off my daughter in traffic, I’m gonna totally frig up their car so that they can never cut her or anyone else off again.”

    I mean, granted, a character like that could make for an interesting story – but it’s nothing I’d like to see as commonplace in my city. There’d be a lotta frigged up cars. And besides, flawed as it is, I still think the legal system does a decent job in many cases. I certainly don’t feel like I’m in anarchy. Frankly, I feel safer under the current order than I would if I was around vigilante-hopeful types as yourself.

  13. Well said Scott…a society of vigilante-hopefuls would make me exteremely unnerved, to say the least.

  14. So I did Chase, thanks for clearing that up.

    Correction: my previous comment was to be directed toward John not Jason.

  15. To be clear, I intended no pretense in saying “we may be confusing” I really thought it was possible they were one and the same.

    John?
    Jason?

  16. @ chase

    I am not John, nor John I. It may seem strange to you and the people on this blog that some people might believe differently than you. But alas there are people out there who would rather not roll over and die.

  17. “It may seem strange to you and the people on this blog that some people might believe differently than you.”

    Oh my. Look who turned from potential sociopath into a Mister Sillypants. You’re just hopping from one identity to another, aren’t you Jason?

    Nobody here cares if people hold other perspectives from themselves. I certainly don’t. What probably strikes people as strange is that someone would hold such a flatly unbiblical view and argue in its favour on a Christian site on a basis not founded on scriptural evidence but instead on your feelings on the matter, your fear that the government that God put over you is inadequate, and the fact that your rage can pretty well justify any action you choose to take. Oh, and also, the view you represent is spookily anarchic and would essentially lead to the downfall of society.

    You can think with your guts if you want, but (as Nick Hornby tells us) your guts are full of crap.

  18. So Dane, give me a “biblical” reference on God telling us (Christians)to let criminals do whatever they please, and how we should roll over and get the crap beat out of us.

    I highly doubt you can find scripture on ignoring punishment. Because I have looked for it, and have yet found that magical verse.

    You would have me believe that God does not like punishment. That he wants us to love all and give everyone what ever they desire. Including our religion, our Bible, our faith, and eventually our lives. You would have me give up my faith simply because you don’t want to offend someone. Well it is offensive. I believe what the Bible says and I believe we should act accordingly. God gave us feelings, and common sense, maybe more people should use it. Istead of taking the Bible apart verse by verse, and using it out of context to fit your needs.

  19. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him th eother also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 538-42)

    I am no pacifist but this is just one of the passages you will have to wrestle with, Jason.

    Also, let’s try and be charitable in our discussions. Jason, if you’re interested in having a real conversation that’s great…if you’re just wanting to stand on your soap box and pronounce judgment on those who disagree then you should find a different website to do that. And Dane, as usual, you don’t have to call people names to make a point…not everytime, anyways ;)

  20. @Jason – Could you do me the favor of dealing with my above stated concern. It’s not clear to me how what you’re saying is any different than “If someone cuts off my daughter in traffic, I’m gonna totally frig up their car so that they can never cut her or anyone else off again.”

    I’m sure you see a difference, so I’d like you to explain how I’m misunderstanding you.

  21. Scott,

    Jason did respond to that comment but we have blocked it because it seemed to be taking the discussion in an unhealthy direction. The essence of his response, and Jason feel free to corect me if I misrepresent you, was that since rape is more serious than getting cut off then the response to one need not be a universal response. Your response to a sin is dependent upon the gravity of that sin.

    Is that what you said, more or less Jason?

  22. More or less David

    For your verse of turn the other cheek. I figured this one would show up. I have been in discussions before about this. A very simple counter question to that would be: Do you think that if Jesus was being beaten with a baseball bat, he would resist? Or would he be beaten to death?

    Now to be fair Jesus died on the cross, and that was far worse, but once again to be fair that is what he came to do.

    Knocking out someones tooth simply because they may have done it to you by accident is foolish. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, would hardly benefit anyone. For who would gain from losing an eye or tooth. What He means, and this is my own interpretation, is, some things you’ve got to let roll off your back. But in no means do I think this verse calls us to sit back and be abused.

    I do want to have a real convesation, but I get frustrated at people who think it is the calling of a Christian to do everything possible not to offend others. Yes we should try not to offend others, but there is a point when you have to say “we’re not gonna take anymore” We have to draw the line somewhere. And in my short life time I have seen Christians move that line back until we haven’t got a leg to stand on.

    And I will put this down again. As a man, as the head of my houshold, as the spiritual leader, I see nowhere in the Bible where I should just give up and let (as a Man) any woman or child, (as the leader of my home) any of my family, become victims to the criminals of this world. Yes there are circumstances where I cannot protect them, but I should go after and try my best to get the guy that did it to them. Because next time it could be your wife, child, daughter, or son. And if I stop them (maybe not just me, but police and such) they will not have the chance to do it again. (of course unless they get out on bail)

  23. You know, I don’t think anybody here would say you shouldn’t protect your family. I know I sure would – at least as best as I’m able. I’m fairly certain that the “crazy talk” that people are perceiving on your end of this is just your way of expressing your zeal to ensure the safety of those in your care. But hopefully, as we all do, you’re hastily saying things that, if you really thought about, you would want to say much more carefully, if not more accurately.

    Bottom line is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to meed out justice, be it through bustin’ caps in folks or writing citations. Certain people are authorized to bust caps in certain people under certain circumstances – but having law and order and peaceful society means that not just anybody can kill anybody for any reason.

    Everyone knows that rape and murder are horrendous deeds, and most people feel that there’s a serious (if not capital) punishment necessary for the doers of those deeds. The question isn’t whether or not people should seek out these punishments for evildoers – it’s how people should go about seeking out these punishments. Those in favor of an ordered society tend to think that officers of the law bear the primary (though not exclusive) responsibility in this area. Those typically more anarchic in their approach to justice, prefer to circumvent officers of the law altogether, reducing all matters of justice to highly personal, even private, issues.

    You seem to be saying things that would put you in the latter camp. If that’s the case – fine – but think about what it costs you. In choosing to abandon socially instituted norms of law, you are willfully sacrificing the expectation that society will share in your judgments about right and wrong, and so you are also choosing to sacrifice any support that society might give you. Effectively, in choosing to ignore public law, you have publically made yourself a criminal. And that’s up to you.

    But you really can’t be too surprised if we tell you that we think you’re a sociopath – that’s exactly the path you’d be taking. Sociopathy, after all, is a hearty disinterest in public mores.

  24. Very well put Scott

    And yes zeal is a good word for it. I look around and see all of these prisons filled with murderers, and rapists, and wonder, why? Sure we may get some evidence wrong, or mixed up, and an innocent man may die for it. But for the most part those who have been found guilty with conclusive evidence, need to have their punishment handed to them in a timely manner.

    It bothers me that a man (Man A)can kill another man (Man B) and Man A goes to prison and lives till he is sixy. Man B didn’t have that choice. Man B didn’t have a jury or a judge or a chance to be granted amnesty. Man B didn’t get appeal ccourts. But yet Man A gets all those things, including a last wish.

    That in a nutshell is why I am the way I am. I feel our court system is a joke. And when I become a parent, no cop will ever be as serious about a crime toward my family as I woud be. Because to him it is a job, to me it is personal.

  25. Yeah as Im sure you can tell Im a big fan of vigilante style justice movies, I have always wanted to be a head hunter. Wonder how one goes about doin that?

  26. Actually, the triumph of Eastwood’s character in that movie was his realization that abstaining from vigilante justice was the thing that separated him from common thugs.

  27. I cannot believe I am about to do this. Posting a comment nearly a year after an article’s publication is just not a thing that I do! Nevertheless…

    I have a slightly (but only slightly) different perspective than those of you in this comment thread, being a woman, and what’s more, a mom. I have two sons and two daughters, all under the age of five. And I, like many women in this day and age, was molested as a young girl. Without going into an incredible amount of detail, know that in the realm of child molestation, my “case” was mild, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to do some serious healing over the years. Sadly, most of my healing has had more to do with forgiving those who did not bring the man to authorities, moreso than for the actual crime that was committed against me. Only in the last few years, with the encouragement of my husband, have we endeavored to get him registered as a sex offender.

    Honestly, I think that’s a mostly fair punishment for what he did. His career, his marriage, his position in the church, are likely to be strongly affected by that action. I say mostly because, really, for that kind of humiliation, I would LIKE to do some serious damage to him. I would LIKE to yell, cuss, and spit in his face. To be very blunt, and forgive me, a little crass, I would LIKE for the man to be castrated. But those things are never to be. We do not live in a judicial system that castrates sex offenders. Should we? I don’t know.

    Recently at a playground my daughter (almost two) was being pursued by a little boy (same age) who just had no sense of personal space. To be honest, I did kind of want his mom to come over and bavk him up a bit, as my girl was getting frustrated. Before I had a chance to intervene, her two older brothers did it for me. One grabbed her by the hand and lead her away while the other one stood in between them and the boy and said, “stop!” I was very proud of my boys, and then my son took it a step further. He shoved the boy down as hard as he could to drive the point. The boy cried. I had to take my son out and explain to him that he had already done the job of protecting his sister. He did not need to be the one punishing the boy. That child is not in our jurisdiction.

    And now I need to do my best to tie all this stuff together. Here it goes. If someone came into my house in the middle of the night and attempted to harm/rape any of my family, I have no doubt that my husband would be pulling out his gun and would be doing whatever it took to stop the man in his tracks. Legally, I think it flies. He would not be the one in trouble in court. It was in our house. Our jurisdiction. Here’s the part where things get sticky. Lord, may let it never be so, but, If one of my children were hurt, or in danger, I know that my husband and I would be actively seeking the “perp” out. In the unlikely event that the police were not helping us, I know that we would not rest until that person was found, with evidence. The thing is, I know my husband could easily kill someone for harming me or our kids. Easily. Whether you think it’s right or not, doesn’t matter, because we do live in a judicial system that would likely try my husband in court and would, possibly, throw him in prison for doing so, where he would not be working and providing for his family. Not very head-of-householdish. So, while there are certainly times to fight for your family, I think that you have got to keep your rage in check, to a degree, for the sake of your family.

    And If nobody ever reads this, I guess that wouldn’t be the worst thing. :)

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