He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Monday, September 28, 2009 

Of Sons & Murder

I've got a long way to go - or maybe I should say, "a long way to grow." I recently was reading in a book about a true story where a man was serving a life sentence in prison for murdering a man who beat the convict's 3 year old son senseless.

I will say something that shows the complete darkness of my heart, but upon first reading that, I thought, "good for him." And by "good for him," I mean, that guy deserved to be murdered. As a new father, imagining the same thing happening to my son, I thought, "I'd easily kill someone who did that." Scary isn't it? There's all kinds of emotions I never knew existed in me until I had my only boy. It seems righteous on some fleshly, surface level. But it's wicked to think such a way.

The author of the book was not making the criminal out to be any sort of martyr either. In fact, the purpose of the story was to illustrate bitterness. The inmate had executed the person who had wronged him & his son, & yet the man was still angry, still bitter, even though the dead man paid with his life. The author was showing how bitterness is always our problem, never the problem of the person who wronged us - we are commanded to get rid of all bitterness. The man was dead, no longer existing, & yet this man's bitterness remained.

But back to the point I wanted to make. Despite my initial, ugly, vengeful reaction to the murder, it was only seconds after my flesh agreed that the Spirit began convicting & correcting. I was quickly reminded of the Gospel by the Spirit. God, a loving Father, more so than I could ever hope to be or conceive of, put His only Son in the hands of murderers. More so, God poured out His wrath on His Son to reconcile me to Himself. And yet my initial thought of someone abusing my son, who is not innocent, was that I am not willing to extend that same forgiveness given to me, a murderer of the innocent Son.

The good news is that the Spirit spoke. Left to myself, I am hateful & vengeful, self-righteous & full of bitterness. I know by the grace of God, because of the Gospel, forgiveness is always possible. In fact, as a believer, apart from it we will not behold the face of God.

I heartily recommend these 2 resources if you struggle with bitterness & unforgiveness:


HOW TO BE FREE FROM BITTERNESS, & other essays on Christian Relationships

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  • I'm DR
  • From Exiled
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