Columbine. Virginia Tech. Fort Hood. Now Aurora, Colorado. All sites of mass murders, plots to kill dozens of unsuspecting, innocent victims. The impact of the trauma changes whole cities and campuses for decades. Families are changed for a lifetime.
The outpouring of love for the survivors and victim’s families is evident from coast to coast. We weep with those who weep. Our hearts are broken for their tragic loss.
But what about Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Sueng-Hui Cho, Nidal Hasan, and now James Holmes? These gunman shed innocent blood. How should God’s people feel toward the perpetrators of these crimes? How should Christians respond to their evil?
Let me tell you, there’s a lot of venom being spewed toward James Holmes on the TV, through the radio waves, and via social media. Should we join the condemning masses?
No doubt God condemned, and even punished murder since the beginning of time. God dealt severely with Cain’s sin after he killed his brother Abel in the opening of the book of Genesis.
There is another, lesser known murderer of the bible, King Manasseh. Manasseh single-handedly led God’s nation into pagan idolatry. Undoing all the religious reforms of his father, Manasseh built altars and temples to false Gods. As he practiced witchcraft and sorcery, the scriptures tell us “Manasseh also sacrificed his own son in the fire.” Manasseh’s killing spree was not contained in a moment or even day, but an entire reign as king.
Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight (2 Kings 21:6, 16).
Then God moved. Jehovah El Gemuwal, the Lord God of Recompenses came in. He punished Manasseh with holy wrath.
The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon (2 Chron. 33:10-11).
This once powerful, prideful king was led away in chains with a ring through his nose, forced to serve his enemy as a slave. YES!! We love that part of God don’t we. We love it that he comes in and punishes the wicked and humbles the proud. They deserve it!
But story of Manasseh doesn’t stop there.
But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God! (2 Chron. 33:12-13).
What? Are you serious? What kind of God let’s a mass murderer get a do-over? The great God of second chances is who. The God of mercy. The God of all-consuming grace. The God who, “does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” ( 2 Pet. 3:9).
If you claim to follow Jesus the Messiah, remember this, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation” (Rom. 5:8-9).
So when you are tempted to curse James Holmes remember this, you have the same creator who desires you both to come home.