Nidal Hassan and Robert Bales - A Christian View of Swift Justice and Justice Delayed
I received the following in my inbox this morning:
From a friend of mind and I agree with him. After reading the headlines today about the US soldier who shot up Afghanistan civilians, I couldn’t help noticing an irony. There is all this clamor to try this guy quickly and execute him, never mind his having suffered a traumatic brain injury. Yet this Major Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood while screaming Allah akbar, still hasn’t stood trial, and they are still debating whether he was insane, even with the clear evidence regarding his motive: slay as many infidels as possible. So we have a guy in a war zone who cracks, and he must be executed immediately. But this Muslim psychiatrist who was stateside in a nice safe office all day murders 13, wounds 29 of our own guys, and they try to argue the poor lad suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome, from listening to real soldiers who had actual battle experience. Two and a half years later, they still haven’t tried the murderous @#$%^&*()_+- !
After a brief period of thought. I think perhaps there's another angle that Christians should consider that may not seem so obvious at first.
In one case, we have Nidal Hassan, a muslim extremist who shot American soldiers on a stateside U.S. army base. He did so under the influence of a demonic religion which was inculcated into him from birth. No doubt his parents regularly spoke against Christianity and His holy book calls Jesus Christ a prophet (a mere man, not the eternal Son of God) further claims that Jesus did not die (therefore, there is no forgiveness of sins or redemption of mankind) but was taken bodily into heaven. His religion predisposes him to reject those things necessary for him to believe in order to be saved.
Is it not perhaps by God's grace that he hasn't been tried, convicted, and hanged? Once he's dead, he can no longer hear the Gospel and is condemned to eternity in hell. Does God's mercy not extend to him? Did Christ's blood not atone for his sins too?
In the other case, we have Robert Bales - brought up in a country where there are churches and church bells on almost every corner. If hasn't heard the Gospel and been given every opportunity to convert it is because his parents and neighbors didn't love him enough to tell him about Jesus. In spite of our complete religious freedom, I wonder, was he even baptized? His parents were free to do so. His neighbors and friends were free to talk to him about salvation in Christ alone, talk to him about forgiveness and salvation through the blood of the Eternal Son of God who came down, was born of the virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered, died and was buried and rose again from the dead on the 3rd day. They could also have encouraged him to be baptized when he became older if his parents refused to give him God's gracious washing of rebirth.
There was no hindrance to anyone doing these things - and yet the Christians who knew Robert despised God and Robert enough that they didn't open their mouths and teach him of God's mercy and grace in Christ.
Perhaps a speedy trial in this case is more an indictment on the Christians who should have loved and cared for Robert enough before all this happened. Should they not have loved him enough to give him Jesus? Should they not have loved him enough to speak to him and encourage him to live his Christian faith with integrity - receiving from Christ mercy and grace through the forgiveness of sins? Then, perhaps, God would have heard Robert's prayer, "lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil," and the Holy Spirit would have guarded and protected Robert from danger and temptation to carry out such a heinous attack.
Truthfully, I don't know if Robert professed Christ or not. I don't know if he had been baptized or not. I do know that as he undertook his actions, the Holy Spirit, if He was ever with Robert, was NOT with him and had fled him - leaving Robert to live the hate-filled life of the unbeliever as he murdered innocent civilians.
I can only pray that both Robert and Nidal both find comfort and solace in the forgiveness offered by Christ - that they repent of their wicked deeds, confessing the evil that they have done, and turn to Christ Jesus, who by laying down His life, shedding His blood upon the cross, has already paid the debt owed to God for these heinous acts. I pray that someone, in their hour of deepest despair over their evil, points them to Christ so that they may yet inherit eternal life.
NONE OF THIS is to say that justice should be delayed in hopes that they would repent - the Government bears the power of the sword by God's will and command - to punish evildoers and deter evil. It is not up to the government to slow that process out of some sort of misplaced "christian compassion". Such would be a terrible confounding of church and state.
IT IS TO SAY that we ought to consider carefully our own refusal to speak of God's mercy and grace in Christ to our neighbors. Such refusal has consequences. And as we live in a nation where we are free to proclaim the message of Christ Crucified for sinners - a Word that brings new life to people and brings the Holy Spirit to guard and protect us against carrying out such dreadful sin against one another - we too often fail in our tasks to speak that word to one another - and perhaps - just perhaps - these two cases should serve as a reminder of our responsibility to love and care for all those around us who need to hear this life-giving message.