Christians who support the death penalty.....why?
Some of you know my mother was murdered when I was 12. I grew up poor with a mother that was an addict and a prostitute. I was molested and I was abused by people. I recall countless times trying to pick my mother up with a needle in her arm when she would go through a heroin "nap". Food was a rarity in our home and I have a sister 6 years younger than me that I had to care for while my mom destroyed her life. I grew up stealing, I had to. I stole food, clothes, anything to keep my sister and me not hungry and not cold. Sometimes my mom would get a boyfriend, he'd buy us food but for a cost. He either beat the shit out of her, me, or abused us in other ways. There's a lot of my childhood I don't remember and I'm thankful for that.
When my mother died, I never cried. I don't want to say I was happy, but I thought (naively) that there'd be no more pain. WRONG. I ended up living with my alcoholic uncle who beat me regularly and locked me in a small closet the back (where the washer and dryer were) because I didn't deserve to be around family. I ran away at 15. I was adopted by a wonderful family but it was too late. I was so damaged. The final nail in the coffin is when I met my bio dad and he got caught sleeping with my under aged step sister. After that, I was dead inside.
Around 16 was when my maliciousness and disregard for others kicked in. If you didn't hurt them, they'd hurt you. I've hurt so many people in my life. By 21 I was trying to numb it all with drugs, alcohol and the high I got from hurting others. I was on my way to becoming a psychopath. Eat or be eaten was my mentality.
At 22, they caught the man who killed my mother and my whole life changed. I had never dealt with her death. This man, he admitted to everything, they wouldn't plea him because it was premeditated. I went to his first court hearing where they read the charges, expecting to see a monster. Instead, I saw a man whose family (wife and 2 kids) sat behind him in anguish. My heart fell. I knew that look. I knew that pain, that fear. His family changed me heart. I was so angry at him yet I was overcome with a compassion because I saw the remorse and the fear he had. This was obviously not the same man he was 10 years ago. I immediately advocated that he not be eligible for the death penalty. I couldn't do that to his family, not his girls.
He ended up getting life in prison with possibility of parole. He reached out to me shortly after for victims impact. We both had to speak to the same therapist (at separate times for about 8 months), then the time came. I sat in a room with a therapist and my mother's murderer and had no idea what to say. He started crying and thanked me for advocating for his life, in my disdain towards him, I informed him I could never do to his family what he did to mine, it wasn't for him. Then he started to tell me about the days that all of it happened in, the why, the thought process. I realized I had had the same exact thought process. I was no different than this man, I just hadn't escalated yet. He told me of his upbringing, even with my tragedies, I couldn't imagine living his life. In that moment, I didn't have pity but I had understanding. Before he got caught, he had turned his life around and was trying to do right, I saw and felt his remorse, his guilt, his self loathing. I felt it for myself too. I was no different than the man in front of me, I just hadn't been dead enough inside to kill yet. I stared at the person I had yet to become. I realized I had become my mother and her murderer. I looked at him and I cried. He changed, so could I. My mother's murderer inspired me and changed me. I forgave him and cried with him. Who was I to condemn this man? Had I killed anyone? No, but was I a good person deserving of redemption? Just as much as he was. I forgave him that day and I got the help I needed and turned my life around like he did. Like my mom should've.
I guess the point of this post is that when dealing with someone who murders, they aren't all monsters. People can become and are products of their environments. Some are strong enough to pull out of it, some succumb to he damage dealt upon them. Some really can't be saved. I just don't understand how someone can look at another person and wish death upon them. I'll never understand how he could do that to my mother but he did. I couldn't wish that fate on him, his family, it'd be no better than him. It would be premeditated murder in my eyes. I'll be there for his first parole and I'll advocate for his release. People can change after mistakes, after huge ones. Why are some so eager to dole out death and even rejoice when it's painful? It's not a tenant of Christianity (NT) to want those to suffer, it's of forgiveness and grace. Why not extend it to them? Wouldn't your god?