My, What Big Teeth You Have!

grandma wolf

“What he did to that poor child is just horrible!”  The woman behind the counter exclaimed to the elderly lady beside me.  I slid the clipboard in front of me and began to sign my children’s names on the Sunday School roster.  I glanced at the silver-haired woman at my side and smiled, wanting to be friendly without interrupting their conversation.  She smiled sweetly at me, her eyes crinkling at the corners good-naturedly.  Turning back to the counter woman, she hissed, “I hope he rots in hell and that everything he did to her is done back to him for all of eternity!”  My head snapped up and I turned.  She looked at me again, still the well-dressed elderly lady, only now her eyes held a feral gleam and her grandmotherly face looked wolfish and fierce.  I suddenly felt like Little Red realizing for the first time that this isn’t my sweet grandma!  These two women proceeded to exchange how, in their respective professions, they had encountered all manner of evil and were therefore uniquely qualified to render judgment.  I walked into the service that day feeling unsettled and saddened.

I find that the headlines over this past year have been particularly disturbing.  Families torn apart by the deeds of madmen, never to be whole again.  Broken people desperately seeking solace in drugs that fry their minds and create cannibalistic monsters.  Jars of tiny dismembered body parts on the shelves of a filthy abortion clinic.  Young men recording themselves performing unfathomable acts of murderous violence.  The depravity seems endless.

Strangely, what disturbs me the most is how we ‘normal’ people react to such news.  Online and off, I often hear comments similar to the church ladies from that surreal Sunday morning.  I hear fervent rejoicing over the destruction of evil people and malicious wishes of eternal torment upon them.  Gleeful delight in justice done.  Why should this bother me?  After all, I am certainly no bleeding heart.  In fact, I derive a great deal of satisfaction and relief when justice is served. I sincerely hope that it gives a measure of comfort to the victims and their families.  However, as a Christian, I am also very aware that the final, eternal loss of even one evil soul grieves my Savior deeply.

I challenge you to ponder this for a moment.  The Osama bin Ladens, Kermit Gosnells, Ted Bundys, wife beaters and child molesters everywhere were each made by our loving Creator.  They were each made in His image and He desired above all else that these men would turn from their monstrous ways and surrender their lives to Him; that through His sacrifice, they too might be saved.  The God I serve does not delight in casting the lost from His presence into the outer darkness.  On the contrary, I suspect that my Jesus just might weep each and every time He must do so.

So how should this affect us?  I believe that it should make us keenly aware of the fact that the wages of our sin is the same as theirs.  It is only by His grace that I am saved.  Period.  And as a grateful child adopted into the family of the King, I should grieve at least a little over what grieves my Lord.  Not because I feel compassion for the monsters of this world—I am not that nice of a person.  But I should grieve because I know that it hurts my God whenever anyone is lost.  Don’t we hurt when those we love hurt?

In our desire for justice, may we never lose sight of the mercy that has been bestowed upon us.  May we be satisfied with justice without delighting in the eternal destruction of our fellow human beings.  May we rise above our natural desire for vengeance and instead rest in the knowledge that our Lord has that covered.  And may we grieve that He has to mete it out at all.

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2 thoughts on “My, What Big Teeth You Have!

    • Thank you. I heard the crickets chirping after posting that one–absolutely no response. It is a very unpopular way of thinking, but I felt compelled to put it out there. I need the reminder more than anyone, I think. Thanks for commenting.

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