OPINION

It's the victims who deserve our total sympathy

SADDENING: Father Brendan says it's not the first time a man has murdered his family and some people have sympathised with him.
SADDENING: Father Brendan says it's not the first time a man has murdered his family and some people have sympathised with him.

Back in Old Testament times, Moses was approached en masse by almost all the people with him in the desert.

They complained that everyone felt that having 600 commandments to live by was way too tough and that Moses should go back up the mountain, talk to God and try and renegotiate a better deal.

Reluctantly, Moses agreed and back up the mountain he went.

After a rather long and nervous wait, the people see Moses coming back down the mountain and they go and meet him at the bottom.

Moses looks up at the huge crowd and says: "I've got good news, and I've got bad news."

The people all call out "tell us the good news!"

Moses replies: "I've managed to convince God to cut down the commandments to only 10."

The people cheer and dance for joy. They eventually calm down and ask Moses: "So, what's the bad news?"

Moses sheepishly looks up at the people and says: "Adultery is still in there."

A good Catholic woman with 10 children told me that joke, so I'm blaming her.

Have you ever noticed that the "thou shalt nots" in life usually come first?

When you visit someone's house for the first time you wait to be invited in, just in case the rule is thou shalt not enter until asked.

And once you've entered the house for the first time, you ask if you should take off your shoes, just in case the rule is thou shalt not wear shoes in the house.

Whenever an emcee welcomes guests at an event, he or she always tells the guests what they shall not do first (no smoking inside, no wine glasses outside) before guests can get down to the more enjoyable freedoms of what they can do.

The thou shalt nots definitely come first in dating and romance, but we'll leave that for today.

Now, if you love someone, you'll keep their thou shalt nots. If you don't, then you won't.

You don't need a religious bone in your body to believe that one of life's most obvious commandments or rules is that you do not kill people.

One would think that this does not need saying. And yet, it appears it does.

Last week, when a Brisbane man murdered his wife and three children by pouring petrol on them and setting them on fire, I was surprised and saddened that even part of some people's sympathies would go with him and not totally with the wife and children. This is not the first time a man has taken the lives of his family under the guise of love and some people have sympathised with him.

In a time when some call disagreeing with someone's views a hate crime, it is confusing that anyone would call killing a family member "love". There is no future other than tragedy if we start sympathising with people who do horrible things to their loved ones because they were sad. And to say they did it for love seems a form of blasphemy.

Consider also that the daughter of jailed wife killer Borce Ristevski recently stated: "I have no doubt in my mind that my dad loves my mum."

In a time when some call disagreeing with someone's views a hate crime, it is confusing that anyone would call killing a family member "love".

There is no future other than tragedy if we start sympathising with people who do horrible things to their loved ones because they were sad. And to say they did it for love seems a form of blasphemy.

Back in the day, I was scandalised when I first heard that Mother Teresa suffered from depression most of the time. I wondered to myself, if Mother Teresa really loved these people wouldn't helping them make her feel happy?

Today when I muse on her struggles, it is inspirational and educational.

It's a reminder that love is not about how you feel so much as it is about how the one you love feels. Not our comfort, but theirs.

If you love someone you will try and make them feel happy.

But if you are only worried about how you feel, then perhaps it is yourself that you love and not them.

Self-love is fine, but not if it results in the misery of those around you.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee