>Recently the country has been captivated with the story of a young girl who was kidnapped back in 1991. She recently was reunited with her parents at the age of 29. Her story is one of horrific tragedy that we, looking from the outside, can never truly understand or comprehend.

The human side of me thinks this man should be put through every single torture device that the human mind has ever invented. There is nothing that could be done to this individual that would ever be enough to make up for the evil things that he did to this child and the emotional trauma that she suffered over the years and, consequently, will have to wrestle with for the rest of her life.

Now, I believe that this country is founded on a sense of justice. And because of this, we have laws in place to at least administer some sort of justice. Our system may not be perfect, but it’s the best we have and it is as fair as any system in the world.

What concerns me is our response as Christians to this story. I have heard many comments that disturb me deeply. We place ourselves in the shoes of the victims which we should rightly do. But, then we completely dehumanize the criminal. We act as judge jury and executioner. We make comments about how this person does not deserve fairness, mercy, grace, love etc.

The message of the Gospel is that love transcends all evil. It lifts us out of the muck and the mire that we swim and relish in. For us to begin to put weight on different kinds of sin is a dangerous slippery slope. What this man did to this poor innocent little girl is no different than Hitler’s murdering of millions of Jews and others. What both of these man have done is no different than my sin. When it is boiled down to brass tacks, we are all sinners and we are all separated from the love of God. I deserve death as much as Hitler or this pathetic man. The only difference between me and these other men is I have trusted in the one who gives grace and gives it abundantly. Because of which I should be more willing than others to extend that same grace and mercy to people such as this.

If we think that this man does not deserve mercy. If we think he does not deserve a voice, then lets look at some of the people in the bible that we look up to so fervently.

Apostle Paul-Murderer
Peter-selfish liar
King David-Adulterer, Murderer, Polygamist, liar
Abraham-War Monger, Liar

This, of course, is just a short list of the people we look up to and the awful things they did. In fact if we were to judge everyone who wrote the scriptures we so dearly love, all we would be left with would be the red letters. When all is said and done, maybe that’s enough. Because the message would still stand; love unconditionally, love God, love your neighbor.