The Unfortunate Case Of Jack Doe: Death By Love
by Katopeka Nkhoma

This story is based on actual events but the names have been changed to protect those involved.

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she walked out of the room. Every head was down, avoiding eye contact with her. As the door banged behind her, she let out a short scream and collapsed on the floor sobbing bitterly. How was she going to live with herself? She vowed never to forgive herself. The prison warden looked at her helplessly as he too pushed back a tear.

The room she had just walked out of was an execution chamber. Her son, her only precious son, was sitting in the electric chair. With bitterness and hatred, he had commanded her to leave the room. She could still hear his voice ringing in her ears, “ I hate you! You put me in this place! You should have told me! I hate you! Get out! Get out!”

A few minutes later the door opened and people quickly walked past her, avoiding her like the plague. The last person to come out was the chaplain. He sat down next to her, right there on the floor, and put his hand around her shoulder. Broken hearted, she couldn’t understand why Jack, in his mid twenties, had to die like this.

The story of Jack Doe is truly an unfortunate one, yet there are many Jacks in the world today. They may not be on death row, but like Jack, they are suffering the consequences of being loved to death. Let me back track 25 years so you can better understand me.

Jack was the only child of Mary Doe. He didn’t know his father and his mother never talked about him. Mary loved Jack to bits. She knew the absence of his father would affect him and so she decided she would compensate for it. Unfortunately, she over compensated. She spoilt him in the name of love. His teachers at school couldn’t discipline him without risking an attack from her. He became a bully and a thief, I mean why not? Mommy was always there to bail him out.

Jack became the “bad boy” of the city. He was the true definition of “menace to society”. In Mary’s eyes though, he was a little angel, her precious little angel.

Amazingly, Jack made it into the local university. And as they say, “wonders never cease”. The next wonder was that Jack snagged the prettiest girl on campus, Diane. Diane was an angel. Beautiful, intelligent, quiet and impossible to get. It was the classic tale of Beauty and The Beast being replayed. Perhaps Diane was going to be Jack’s path to redemption.

But alas, it was not to be so. A year into their relationship, Diane was dead. She had failed to tame the beast and it cost her her life. It was a clear cut case due to the gruesome way in which she had been decapitated. Jack’s DNA was all over the crime scene. In fact, Jack didn’t even bother to make a run for it, after all, mommy was there to bail him out. And wonder of wonders she did try! Mary got her beloved Jack the best lawyer in the country but alas, this case was beyond her. She was helpless. The case was quickly tried and Jack found guilty. The rest, as they say, is history.

What went wrong? Mary loved Jack to death. Love is lethal if not administered properly.

No matter how much we love our children, we should learn how to raise them well. I am always amazed and saddened by parents who spoil their children in the name of love. True love always wants the best for the ones we love and sometimes the best means putting boundaries and checks to keep our children from falling in the fire.

Hebrews 12:5 — 6 (E.S.V)
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

True love disciplines. Why?
Discipline builds boundaries in life. Where there is no discipline, there is no restraint. Where there is no restraint our children might end up in the electric chair like Jack.

Many parents think It’s love to spoil their children it’s not, it’s just that; spoiling them!

As parents, it’s our responsibility to bring out the best in our children. Let’s remember that for olives to produce oil they have to be crushed, for a diamond to shine at its best it has to be cut and for gold to be pure it has to go through the fire. Those principles also apply to raising our children to be the stars we want them to be. It may prick your heart when you have to discipline them, but that’s better than the broken heart of a ruined life.

Proverbs 22:6 (E.S.V)
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Train your child to become the kind of adult you want them to be. Don’t let them grow wild like a weed, rather, direct them the same way a grapevine is directed to grow. If you don’t, like a weed their lives will he cut short. But if you train and direct them, like the grape vine they will live long and have something to offer society.


Kato Nkhoma is a seasoned Pastor with circa 15 years under his belt. He is also a prolific teacher of the word, author and freelance writer. A husband to 1wife  and father of 2 amazing children makes him a happy family man.

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