Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This was supposed to be posted last Wednesday but things came up and it took me some time to get it posted...sorry for the delay...

TJ Lane.  Odds are if you live in NE Ohio you know that name.  It is not a name I wish I knew.  He did not affect my family personally but his actions in a neighborhood not far from my home had me glued to the television for a day.   After his shooting spree in Chardon, Ohio, he has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.    Yesterday there was a fury of posts and comments on Facebook about his sentencing.  Personally, I was outraged that he was allowed to leave the “Killer” shirt on.  I think the judge should have made him remove the shirt or cover it.  It was in very poor taste to allow that.  However, the comments TJ made in the court room were so infuriating and vulgar that my shock left me almost speechless.  The thought that TJ was so disturbed to make those comments to the parents of the victims had never crossed my mind.   I was certain that this young man after this amount of time would have regret and sorrow about his actions.  Sadly, this is not the case.

As the day went on I saw many people express their outrage.  Everything from outcries for public hangings to be brought back to joy in the fact that in prison will most likely experience rape and severe beatings from the inmates – and sheer joy that he would be rotting in hell in the afterlife.  I must admit, as a parent, I was inclined to think that he would be “getting what he deserved”.  But, through my husband, God convicted me to think otherwise last night.

After looking at the posts and comments it is actually almost as scary to look at those of us on the outside as the inmates.  If you are not a professing Christian these comments will make no sense to you and honestly are not directed at you.  But, if you do profess, I hope that you will take these things to heart as I have done.

TJ committed a horrible, awful and life changing crime.  There is nothing acceptable about his actions.  As Christians, however, we should be praying for this young man.  Rather than rejoicing that he would be in hell, we should be praying that he finds Jesus!  Think about it.   We tell people over and over again that God’s love is unconditional.  We say that there is NOTHING that they could do to keep God from loving them.  But then, we see this young man and begin to rejoice in his path to hell.  I am not saying that we should be letting him out on the streets in an act of forgiveness… clearly he is a danger to our society.  But, we should be praying for his salvation!  Are we ready to say that God’s salvation is only for some individuals and not for others?  Yes, I have not committed murder, but I have sinned!  Personally, I am not willing to say that I deserve God’s grace and mercy but TJ does not. 

Look at the Bible.  Paul, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) missionaries the world has known started as a murder of Christians.  God called him and then used him!  Has TJ committed some crime worse than Paul did?  No.  The fact of the matter is that we need to be angry and mad at the sin and the complete lack of respect for human life that has occurred in this crime but at the same time praying for the soul remaining.  If we do not believe that these souls are worth saving, why do we have prison ministries?  Why do we send the gospel into the prisons?

What was probably the most disturbing comment that I saw yesterday came from a pastor.  I was not able to post on the pastor’s wall directly because we are not “friends” but I will post his comments here:

“A few observations on the court room performance today by T.J. Lane, convicted shooter in the Chardon High School killings:

1. Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry, you ought to be stripped of your Judgeship and disbarred immediately for allowing this low life your courtroom as a platform to once again victimize these poor families who have already lost so much. 

2. Mr. Lane, If you serve no other purpose in your miserable existence, you will forever be a walking advertisement as a reason why we need the death penalty in the United States.

3. While the Bible tells us that vengeance is the Lords, I can't help but believe the Lord is going to be getting a little help from the prison population wherever this sad excuse for a human being ends up at. I don't think he'll be laughing too much longer. 

4. Please, SPARE ME the lecture me on how as a Pastor I should be more compassionate and forgiving toward this scum bag. It's up to God to forgive him - our justice system should arrange the appointment. 

I'm Jim McComas and I approved this message.

Really??? #4?? I am not saying that we need to forgive the sin in terms of saying it is ok… BUT we do need to feel compassion for this young man.  This man is a pastor and he is saying these things… does he realize he is leading a flock?  Shouldn't he be stating what the Bible says – even if, as was my first reaction, we can’t easily do it ourselves, shouldn't we be pointing out what the Bible says we should be doing?  Yes, living up to the standards of the Bible is hard, well impossible at times but as a pastor, shouldn't he be encouraging us to look into compassion and prayer for this young man?

As I listened to my husband last night, I originally thought he was crazy, but as I continued to listen and talk to him and other women, I felt God softening my heart. (Thanking God right now for him giving me a husband that is turning into a great spiritual leader FOR ME, even when I make it hard for him to do at times!) TJ Lane needs our prayer and if you are a professing Christian, while his actions and words are disturbing please think of Paul and think of TJ’s soul and pray as led.

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