Regarding drug dealers and addicts - “I think we should put ‘em all on an island together and just let ‘em kill each other off. They want to act like a bunch of animals, then let ‘em.”
Regarding rapists - “I think we should just send them all naked up to Antarctica and let them freeze their ’important’ parts off. ”
I don’t know what it is about people wanting to banish criminals to various remote parts of nature, but it seems pretty obvious that we don’t want them near us. And to some extent, I get it. Some people in this world are just filled with evil. I will even admit that when I heard the news this morning about Ariel Castro’s suicide, a part of me was a little bit happy. I’m not proud of that emotion, I honestly should be ashamed of it. God will definitely be the ultimate judge and jury of those people. I can praise Him for justice but I shouldn‘t rejoice in the condemnation of other people. Ever.
As a woman who used to run with lots of criminal types and who is now the wife of a prison minister, I am a bit of a hug-a-thug (a term people in the prison system use to refer to those who appear to be soft on the inmates). I have the opportunity to see the other side of the coin. While the news may report the gruesome and dirty facts about the crimes people commit, they often neglect the long and sad stories that typically accompany each person’s journey into drugs, sexual deviance, or violence. Those stories are not an excuse, but they can often be an explanation.
That guy who molested the eight year old…chances are that as a child he endured sexual abuse himself and it was all he knew.
The drug dealer on the corner…if you got to know him, chances are he’s got a few mouths to feed and there are few legal ways for him to make the same amount of money when he can’t afford bread, much less college.
Regarding that rapist or that murderer…it’s possible that there is undiagnosed mental illness at play. There most likely is a long history of social and emotional dysfunction. Usually the more extreme the crime, the more extreme the background.
Should these people be excused of their behaviors and we should just feel sorry for them? Not at all what I am saying. But what they need is NOT a bullet in the head, sent to an island, or to have their you-know-what’s frozen off. They need Jesus. His is the only true form of rehabilitation and correction.
One of my husband’s favorite sermons is about a king named Manasseh. Manasseh pretty much embodied evil. He tore down all of God’s alters and built places to worship a false God. He sacrificed his own children to his idol. He was into witchcraft, killed tons of innocent people, and caused the downfall of entire nation. This guy made Ariel Castro look like a light weight.
God dealt harshly with Manasseh - stripping him of his throne and having the opposing army take him in chains into captivity. He took Manasseh out of power and sent him into personal ruin. But God’s reason wasn’t to get some cheap thrill out of watching him suffer for the wrong he had done. It was to show Manasseh who was in charge. And when Manasseh was at his lowest point, the Bible says in 2 Chronicles 33:12-16 that he sincerely humbled himself before the Lord and prayed to God.
God didn’t gloat in Manasseh’s misery or have the “I told you so” attitude. The Bible says that the Lord was moved by his prayer and removed him from captivity and restored his kingdom back to him again. God actually put him back in the position of king again! That’s nuts to me.
Manasseh went on the rebuild the Temple and revive worship to God there again. He got all of the idols out of Judah and encouraged it’s citizens to turn back to the Lord.
So as you listen to the news coverage today about the death of Ariel Castro or if you are just watching your evening news and hear local stories of people who may have done horrific things, try to find a place in your heart to not only pray for the victims they have affected, but also pray that like Manasseh, they may come to know that “the Lord alone is God” (2 Chronicles 33:13).