It’s one of the most bizarre stories you’ve ever heard; but unfortunately, it’s true. Lena Driskell, a pistol-packing, then 78-year-old great-grandmother, shot her 85-year-old boyfriend, Herman Winslow, to death as he read the paper in the Hightower Manor retirement complex in Atlanta. Her granddaughter told reporters outside the courthouse, “What drove her to something like this is beyond me. We have no control over what she did, but we are very sorry.”
Apparently the two had dated for a year, traveled often and recently returned from a trip to Daytona Beach just a few days before the shooting. They even shared a bank account. Lena’s granddaughter said her grandmother had assumed the two would one day be married. When her boyfriend announced he was ending the relationship and had begun dating someone else, something snapped.
One of the investigating detectives said that after the breakup, Lena kept showing up uninvited at the victim’s apartment in the complex for seniors where they lived. The night of the shooting she showed up at his apartment using a key. An unarmed female security guard told Mr. Winslow to have a seat on the lobby couch. Detectives said Lena kept her hand behind her back, concealing the weapon, while the security guard was attempting to calm her down. Her efforts proved futile as Lena walked over to the victim and fired four shots as the guard ran for cover.
When police officers arrived they saw Lena in a bathrobe and slippers, waving an antique handgun in the air, yelling, “I did it, and I’d do it again!” She has no prior criminal record and has owned the gun, a gift from her father, since 1957. She was released on $25,000 bond and placed under house arrest wearing an ankle monitor while awaiting trial. Last summer, at the age of 86, she was still serving a 10-year sentence at Pulaski State Prison.
Lena is a grandmother of five and a great-grandmother of six. What she did is obviously neither grand nor great. In fact, it’s downright tragic. Strangely enough, the whole outrageous episode was totally unnecessary and completely preventable. As Lena has had the opportunity to find out, jealousy and the ramifications of letting it get a grip on your heart are all self-inflicted wounds.
Genuine love, the Bible tells us, is “patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Jealousy, on the other hand, is just the opposite and is a clear indication of a broken heart. (Read that statement again.) Jealousy is listed by the Apostle Paul among the “acts of the sinful nature” recorded in Galatians 5:19-21 which can keep us from inheriting the Kingdom of God. He also warns in Romans 13:13 that jealousy is conduct unbecoming of a child of God.
In Proverbs 27:4, Solomon summed it up with these words, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Truth is, no one can. Jealousy will take you down every time - if you let it.
There’s a reason why the Bible warns against jealousy.
It’s a killer.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.