Look at that sweet face and bright smile! Listen to that voice
as he sings Ben. It is the voice of an angel, coming from the
depths of a soul so sweet, so pure, it could only be from God.
Would you hurt him? Would you give him reason to cry at night?
No, you say? You cannot imagine it? But you did!
You started even then. You denied his gift, and tried to say
he must be a 42-year-old midget. That remark hurt him because
he didnt understand. He cried over it.
Still, he kept smiling sweetly and singing his heart out for
you. He was like a little songbird trapped in a cage. He could
not get out or fly free. All he knew to do was sing, sing his
little heart out for you.
Of course, he was already a cunning little showman, too. Jermaine
said at about age three he was already looking into the mirror,
copying Jermaines moves-which, of course, he would soon
master, and then surpass.
All was forgiven. How could you not? All he had to do was grin
that mischevous smile, and remind you with a song of why he
was special, what a shining little star he was.
Did you know he paid for all that joy he gave you with bruises,
and the loss of a childhood that most take for granted? It was
a childhood where the joy of performing was mixed with smoke-filled
nights in seedy, rough bars, and sleep that consisted of a few
snatched hours on buses and planes.
Still, he kept smiling and singing for you, beating his wings
against that cage.
Would you deliberately hurt this little boy?
No, you say? Look at that face, that smile, listen to that voice!
No, this child was a precious gift. Anyone who would hurt this
child and give him reason to cry would have to be an evil person
indeed. So you say.
Oh, but you did! You hurt this little boy, not once, not twice,
but over and over again. He cried himself to sleep, so many
more nights than youll ever know. You took the smile from
his face and the joy from his heart, not all at once, of course,
but slowly and deliberately, in the way the most insidious evil
works. You battered him with your lies, with your accusations,
with your cruel jokes that you thought were funny. I hope it
all gave you amusement, because while you were laughing, this
little boy was not only crying, but slowly dying inside.
This smiling, sweet little boy with the voice of an angel grew
sad, withdrawn, and sometimes angry. His wings beat harder against
the cage. But still, he could not break free.
He never lost his smile or his sweet ways. But some days he
just felt so battered, so bruised. Yes, some days he did question
whether it was worth it, to go on this way.
But he went on. He kept smiling and singing and giving his all,
for you. Even when you gave him nothing but your hate, he kept
hoping you would love him again. Because thats all he
ever really wanted, was your love. When that was taken from
him, it killed him inside.
And that pain grew, until it became a crushing stone on his
heart. Every performance became haunted by fear; anxiety. Would
you love him enough? Or crush him further with your blows?
He still beat his wings, but the cage only grew smaller; his
Sometimes he ran away from you, searching to find that happy
little boy again. There were times when he was so close, yet
somehow you always managed to hunt him down, and stick him back
in that cage again. You always found yet one more way to hurt
What could he do? If he sang for you, you scorned him. When
he didnt sing for you, you scorned him. When he fought
fiercely, battering his fragile wings against that cage, you
laughed at the spectacle. When he gave up, you called him a
coward, a quitter, and many things much worse.
When his heart finally gave up and his wings were stilled, it
was not enough. You beat and pummeled his heart, trying to make
it start up for you one more time. Why? Just so you could hurt
it some more? Even in death, his body was battered and bruised,
so many trying to force him to give it his all one last time.
But by then he had spent a lifetime-fifty years-of giving it
his all. His body, his soul, his crushed heart, simply had no
more left to give.
If asked in 1970 would you deliberately hurt this little boy,
Im sure you would have said no way. Who could possibly
be so cruel?
Yet you did just that! You not only hurt him, you killed him.
Im sure you would never have dreamed yourself capable
of it in 1970. Maybe you didnt mean to. But you did.
Who is the you of this piece?
Look in your heart after you have read this. Listen to what
it says. If its troubling you, then you know who you
But at least if your heart is speaking to you, thats a
good sign. It means you are not a lost cause. The little boy
is dead, but his spirit lives on. There are still many things
you can do to help make things right again. You can start by
helping to clear his name that you blackened-the thing you did
that hurt him the most. You can stop contributing to the hurt
and slander. You can help to create a new day in which his children
will never have to endure the hurt that he did.
If your heart speaks to you not at all, then you are a lost
cause and damned. God loves all of His children. One child,
in particular, He gave the gift of song, so that he might sing
it to you and bring joy to your heart.
God does not like His precious gifts to be rejected. Or hurt.
I know already what some of you will say, those hateful cynics
who always defend their hateful actions. You will say, yes but
That little boy grew up. He made choices. Yes, but
His heart; his spirit; his sweet soul was still the same-still
as vulnerable; still as capable of feeling the brunt of your
This man, that you hurt and drove to his grave with your lies
and your Wacko Jacko taunts and your endless humiliation,
was that little boy. You hurt him, you abused him, and, yes,
you killed him.
You may not pay for it on earth. But one day, you will.