Yesterday, Dylann Roof was sentenced to death for the murder of nine people at a prayer service in Charleston South Carolina. What he did was horrid – and news agencies report that he seems to show no remorse or repentance. What I wonder is does he deserve capital punishment? Or to put it thru a Christian lens, “Does his death bring about God’s kingdom in a greater way then life behind bars without parole?”
Because, while I preached against the horrors this man committed a year and a half ago, I also recognize that God created him too – and that sin dominated his life through the demons of racism, hate, and violence. And maybe Dylann will never repent and turn towards God. Maybe he will always be hate-filled – in which case he will have to stand in judgement before God. But I also wonder if anyone, even someone as broken as Dylann Roof, is beyond God’s power to redeem? Are any of us ever so broken that God can’t fix us?
And for me, I believe in a God that is all-powerful and all-loving – and that God’s death on the cross in Jesus can redeem any sort of brokenness – and when we put Dylann or any person to death, we are denying God’s power and ability to redeem. And for me, no sin is bigger than our God, and that God can work grace into any of our lives – even those as broken as Dylann’s.
Pray for Mother Emmanuel, for the families there, for everyone who struggles with the death penalty, and that God’s grace might reach them all…Amen.