child abduction, enemies, God, Jessica Ridgeway, Jesus, kidnapping, killer, Love, Love enemies, love sinner, murder
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
–Jesus; The Gospel of Matthew, 5:43-47
In Colorado, a 10-year old girl, Jessica Ridgeway, is kidnapped and, days later, found dead in a field. The community is deeply shaken and scared. The killer is still at large.
We are told by Jesus to love this killer.
How can this be? By societal norms all would agree that the act itself was monstrous; many would call the killer a monster. Yet, Christians are called to respond by loving this person, the killer of a child. It seems to make no sense; surely Jesus is mistaken, He was really talking about your average run-of-the-mill enemy, right? the kind of person that just insults us or perhaps the neighbor who has a dog that barks all night. He didn’t really mean to love this sort of person, did He? Certainly they are beyond our love; only God could possibly love such a being.
Love the sinner, hate the sin, isn’t that our standard Christian response? Hating the sin is easy; loving the sinner is fine in theory, but it seems hard in this particular case to be able to love the person who would perpetrate such a horrific crime and inflict such pain on the young girl’s parents and the community at large. How does one love while simultaneously hoping the killer is caught and punished? And we are commanded to do more than love, we must also pray for this killer. Certainly there can be no harder command of Jesus than His command that we love and pray for this kind of neighbor.
These kinds of questions have led me to wonder about the true nature of love as God intended it, and not as our culture has corrupted it (e.g., reducing love to sex or tolerance). Maybe by understanding how to love and pray for this killer as God would have me I can better understand what He means when He says to love Him with all that I am and to love my neighbor, including the terrorists, my literal neighbors, and my family members as I love myself.
If you are following along, I’m going to try to keep the individual posts of my journey through this shorter; however, they may be more frequent because I want to work through some of what I’ve been reading, and this is my means to do so.
Yes you love the person and hate the crime. Let Jesus judge him and that is why we have we have the death penalty, so he can have a quick and speedy trail.
I feel that we are all the same, any of us could be the person who is taken over by darkness to do evil… The act the person does is not the true person… the loss or crime is horrific and hard to accept but if you really look at the person who did it you can see that he or she is the same as us but something happened in there life to cause darkness to cloud their perception of reality and drive them to a dark place which is a place they did not ever think or desire to go just like all of us never would, but something happened to them to do the act… It is not there true self, because we were all created equal and from love and our fight on this physical journey is to remain connected to our love amidst the darkness that is lurking and waiting to attack.
Thanks for your comment. I certainly agree that the act was not from their true self, the one whom
God created them to be (Psalm 139:13-16). However, I do think we are each responsible for our actions; we are each free moral agents and ultimately cannot blame our actions on others. Sadly, I feel our culture is drifting in that direction to allow us to become victims of our circumstances rather than owning up to our own decisions and being willing to be accountable for them.
It is hard to look at a brutal murder and believe that someone would freely choose to act in such a way; however, one can look throughout history to see such atrocities. Someone famously said that the line between good and evil does not run between states but through the human heart. Romans 1:28-32 shows just what each of us is capable of choosing to do if we turn from God.
I totally agree with you on everything you said, and when I was implying that it is not their true self I was not meaning in a victim way as an excuse I was meaning they just lost their way due to life and choice… for when darkness surrounds it is hard to see the light but by no means an excuse only sadness for the fact that they cannot see the light.
You are right about the darkness!
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