Depravity seems to have such an unrepentantly huge piece of some people’s lives that putting them down like a rabid dog often appears rational. Society would be safer. The taxpayers would spend less money. The world would just be a better place. Evil would be removed.
That’s what my worldly mind tells me at times like when the Chicago 3 tortured and humiliated a disabled friend. Or when Dylan Roof falsely befriended then murdered nine black people gathering for Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina. Or when Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier stabbed their friend nineteen times to satisfy a fictional character. Or when adults abuse innocent children, and on, and on, and on.
Each one of these stories has drawn me unwillingly into a confrontation with what I truly believe.
What I Claim to Believe
Twenty-one years ago I had a life-changing encounter with God. Since that time, I would tell you with continual awe that our God is the God of do-overs. I have danced around both with my young kids and girlfriends at retreat singing to Veggie Tales’ “God of 2nd Chances.” I wouldn’t hesitate to tell anyone, my Maker has given me more chances than I EVER deserve.
With the same excitement and encouragement, I would share this promise with others like me. Those who saw themselves as beyond hope, fallen too far for God’s forgiveness would hear nothing but objection from me. I have no problem pointing to Paul, “chief of sinners” who learned that Jesus’ gave his life for him. I am right there in his same league.
But Then There’s This
I have no trouble telling you that I’m a hopeless sinner in need of a Savior. But then a news story breaks like the ones I referenced above. My brain tries to make sense of the senseless. It ultimately tries to do so by making myself righteous and those in these horrific stories unrighteous.
I can remember being in a small group years ago studying THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE together. We discussed Pastor Rick Warren’s statement that given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. I REALLY struggled with that one. Yet, the more I experienced of the world around me, the more I had to embrace its truth.
God’s word says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; none of us are righteous; all of our best efforts are as filthy rags; but Jesus came to save us in spite of ourselves. It’s a free gift for the taking. We need only to accept it.
The Natural Conclusion
If I REALLY take God at His word and believe it to be true, then what do I do with this issue of the death penalty or seeing depraved criminals as worthless pieces of trash? In God’s economy, their sin is no worse than mine. Jesus died for them too. I guess that’s a bitter pill for my prideful soul to swallow.
So while the fallen culture likes to cry out for karma, I need to make a decision. Do I believe in redemption?
If not for my Redeemer, I would be without hope. How can I, as a result, withhold that from any other human being?