I am not an expert on things of the Bible. I don’t think I pretend to be. I am not afraid to admit that there are some things that are tough to swallow when following the ways of Christ. However, despite all of that, I am eager to learn more about Him and I trust Him to know better than me. His ways are higher than mine. My lack of understanding is because of my imperfections, not because of His.
One of the things many Christians struggle with is forgiveness. It is pretty easy to forgive someone for an accident, but I am talking true ‘lay down the sword’ forgiveness. My biggest struggle isn’t forgiving people who hurt me, but rather people who hurt those I love, or people who hurt children. But we must forgive. And we must pray that they change. We are called to minister to them just as much as we are called to minister to the little old lady next door who always bakes us apple pies.
Whenever I think about murderers, abusers, etc, I think of a few things. First of all, it is not my place to judge where they will spend eternity. While we are not called to condone, accept, or agree with their choices…in fact we are called to speak truth against their choices and hold them accountable…we are not the judges of their forever fate. Second of all, I am far from perfect, and the deepest sins that Jesus knows about me are no better than the ones that we all know about public sinners. Third, while some people are completely aware of the evil they do, others are not completely…some were raised from birth to think it okay to hurt those who don’t agree with them. Some have not found Jesus yet and do not realize how wrong they are. This doesn’t make them innocent. No…none of us our innocent, but prayers and forgiveness are for everyone. I also thank God that by His grace alone, I am not under the mindset that murder and abuse is the right path to take. Finally I think about the length of eternity. We cannot even comprehend the length of time eternity is. And for someone to suffer for that long helps me pray for everyone.
Again, please know I am not condoning these people or their actions. I have not been in the position to have to forgive someone who hurt my family in a severe way. I have had to forgive people who have hurt my family in a less severe way though. I don’t know how I would respond in the situation, but I pray that I would be able to forgive and love as Jesus would call me to do. I am not at all claiming it would be easy.
When I think about people around the world hurting others, especially children, the only way I can make it make sense is if I relate it to “Divergent.” Yes, my favorite movie! There is a part of the movie where people are put under a trance and in this trance are programmed to do things that they normally would be against. When they come out of the trance they are appalled at what they have done. I think of the unsaved as being in the trance and if we can reach them, maybe they can come out of the trance, stop hurting people, and help save others.
In a world of Sauls, let’s pray for some conversions to Pauls.