July 26, 2012 at 9:31 am #66441
That quote is relevant to me too, Mike! Thank you for sharing it. Have you guys read this news story yet? It’s about Pierce O’Farrill, one of the shooting victims who survived, and it’s incredible! He describes how he immediately and completely forgave the shooter “with all his heart,” and hopes to meet with him someday to offer to pray for him.
He also described how, on the night of the shooting, he felt a very strong dark presence in the room where the shooter was, and he thought he was going to die, but then, in his own words: “But God came in, and all of a sudden the killer just decided to stop.”July 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm #66469
A week has gone by, and we have heard much opinion with regard to what happened in Aurora. One sentiment I thought I would address is the unfortunate perspective that – if you are among those who find yourself capable of, and turning to forgiveness, you are soft, non-confrontational, feel for the criminal more than the victim – among other undesirable characteristics.
To the true Christian this is a vulgar misrepresentation, and nothing could be further from the truth. A Christian Scientist – for one – knows that crime is worthy of punishment, and he trusts divine Mind (God) to govern both Judge and Jury. At the same time his heart goes out to those effected.
It is true that a Christian will disagree with vigilanteism – that wave of emotion which would forgo due process and skip right to execution. But it is a grand mistake to think that when a Christian calls for “forgiveness” he or she is saying “let the criminal go free,” they aren’t – though they also might not advocate for a punishment of death.
“I forgive” does however indicate a recognition that ultimately justice does not belong to man, but to God. When it comes to justice, a Christian considers this passage of Scripture:
“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” Ezekiel 18:23-24
And thus, here is the Christian’s question… what does it accomplish to hate the criminal? Will it change the court’s decision? Who does harboring hate hurt the most – the criminal or ourselves? Does embracing hate, and a passion for execution, make one more capable of sympathizing with those most effected? How could it? The great need for us all is to progress! No matter how much we would like it to be at times, the past is not available to be changed, and hate is exactly what keeps us from moving forward.
The truth is, the Christian sees that no matter what punishment the courts impose (and that same Christian would not argue against the punishment fitting the crime) there is a far more consequential punishment at hand for committing both crime and sin. That punishment, is the self exclusion from understanding God’s present perfection. To the evil in mortal mind, this punishment is laughable, insignificant, it seems to be no punishment at all – for it does not gratify the material senses. But when the laughing is done, the severity becomes clear and the person regrets ever having joined in the laughter.
The Christian also sees something the vigilante does not – that hate, while less criminal in terms of human law, is no less criminal in God’s law, and so the Christian forgives, and distances himself from hate as far and as quickly as possible. Remembering all the while that human justice patterns the divine, it does not and can not replace it.
- This reply was modified 9 months, 4 weeks ago by Mike.
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