Friday, January 29, 2016

the death sentence - some jumbled up thoughts

Just recently I was having a chat with a neighbour about the 15 yr old teenager who stole a car, drove it at 150kph, evading police, then mowing down a pregnant mum, killing her. The most likely outcome of "justice" here would be a slap on the wrist, as even the mass shooting port arthur murderer was only given life imprisonment [where they're given mixed grill for dinner, dessert twice a day, their own toilet, tv and free drugs, free GP visits, free dental] 

"he should be charged with murder!" 

" he should be sentenced to death!" said I. 
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Which prompted a lot of deep thinking on my part. Should Christians support the death penalty? After all only God can take a life, right? But what if a person could only ever commit more murder if we let them live? If someone had a chance to kill Hitler, should they?

God is merciful - yet just. We aren't Him.

What if - the only reason we haven't committed murder is only by the grace of God? What if, our sinful nature already predisposes us to murder, and we have already sinned as much as a murderer, in the eyes of God? 

What if we're no better than a mass murderer in the eyes of God? [it's hard to imagine or comprehend, but in terms of salvation, we're all the same. it's only the degree of sin that we're allowed to commit that differs among each individual] 

God wants us "to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, NIV). 

I'm not always sure what this looks like in practical terms. 
But I'm reminded that I need to first be humble and thank God for His grace and fear Him first. Not trying to take revenge because revenge is His [Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. ROM 12:19]

Looking upon the perpetrator as who he really is - a sinner, made by God, loved by God, who needs salvation as much as I do. I'm only trying to align my thinking to reality, not distort it into something pretty or popular. Also looking at myself as who I really am - a sinner, made by God, loved by God, redeemed by His blood, whose life and destiny are in His hands. Knowing that God is sovereign and loves me extravagantly. With these in mind, should i fear what other humans can do to me?

Paul was realistic enough to admit that he was the worst of sinners. "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." 1 Tim 1:15 

Am I able to admit that about myself? 

that robbed-at-gunpoint scene in "the War Room" where Ms Clara defiantly resisted the gunman made me wonder what i'd do if it were me. I probably would've handed over my money but if we truly believed that God was in control and we needn't fear man, how she reacted is logical. If she'd gotten killed it would've been God's allowing anyway, which renders it good since God is good. In any case, she would've been at God's mercy, not the gunman's. [by that logic!] 

These issues have been at the forefront of my thoughts lately as it's been demonstrated that how I see others is coloured by how I see myself. If I see myself as being righteous on my own merits, I'll see others [druggies, welfare dependents, school dropouts, criminals] as trash, conversely if I see myself as one of the worst of sinners, needing God's grace, redeemed by His blood, loved extravagantly by the Almighty God - I'd see them as the same. 

In Philemon, Paul encourages a master to be reconciled to his runaway slave, who is now a brother to him because of their faith in Christ. 

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." -Gal 3:28 

How should we receive another - even if they are a druggie/murderer/bad person? 
[bearing in mind that Paul himself was a murderer! and if I've ever hated another, i am too!] 

About the death sentence - that teenaged thief who killed another does deserve it. For the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) but then... so do I. And everyone else. (Rom 3:23)

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank God for this wonderful gift! It just fills me with awe and gratefulness. It brings tears to my eyes. That He would love us and want us! 
That He would take up the death sentence for us - because He loves us that much. His death  - means life for us! 

I'll end with this beautiful verse:

"The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." 

Jer 31:3





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