Recently I ran across a conversation concerning judges taking pity on sex offenders and acting with leniency in sentencing. The question was asked “Is he [the sex offender] any less deserving of prayer and forgiveness than any of us?”
Deserving? We ALL *deserve* to be cast into hell. We need to be grateful for God’s mercy in not getting what we deserve because of God’s grace in Christ.
Mercy: not getting the punishment you deserve
Grace: being given blessings that you do not deserve
Offenders do not *deserve* pity, love, forgiveness. We do not love others because they are deserving of it or have a “right” to it. We choose to love because we are loved by God even when we were unlovable. Out of the abundance of God’s love poured out on us, we turn and love others.
If the offender repents and receives God’s mercy and grace, then the ETERNAL consequences of his actions are forgiven.
As individuals, we are to love everyone, even the worst of offenders. You can love a person, and at the same time, hate their behavior. Part of love is to hold others accountable for their behavior (Prov 13:24).
True, it is in the best interest of the family and victims to forgive and move on — keeping in mind that forgiveness does not mean immediate restoration of position and trust, and does not mean that the offender escapes accountability for his behavior. As individuals, we are to forgive after the same manner that we are forgiven.
Governments, however, are bestowed with a different set of responsibilities.
Law was instituted because of the hardness of people’s hearts.
Mercy bestowed on a loving person is appreciated and promotes better behavior.
Mercy bestowed on a cold-hearted person is interpreted by that person as a reward for their behavior, and encourages more of whatever behavior is rewarded.
Governments and judges are charged with the responsibility to hold offenders accountable for the temporal consequences of their behavior. When they fail to do this, it comes across to society as permissiveness, advocating, and promotion of that behavior.
What this judge is saying is that it is OK, excusable, and justifiable to molest a child.
Instead of pitying the offender, what about the victims? When is it OK for someone to act out their own selfish desires on an innocent child? What about the children whose lives have been ripped apart at the seams?
Seems to me if anyone was to deserve pity, it would be the victim.