amy courts: en route

An Eye for an Eye, Life for a Life
May 31, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I read the Yahoo! news story earlier about Dr. George Tiller, one of the only late-term abortion providers in the country, being shot down at church this morning where he was serving as an usher.

My first response was, “What in the world was an abortion provider doing serving as an usher at church!?! What kind of church is this, and who is this guy’s god? How did he sleep at night!?”

My second response was, “What in the world was the shooter thinking? Did he believe he was serving justice? Doing the work of God? In what, exactly, is this kind of belief system – the kind that compels a man to kill another man in a vigilante act of ‘justice’ – fostered? I pray, not the Church.”

My cousin posted in her status update, “So a man by the name of George Tiller was shot and killed in his church this morning. His means of a paycheck was providing late term abortions to women looking for a way out. He murdered many times a day every day for over twenty years. Don’t blame me if I say do unto others as you would want others to do unto you. He got what he was giving out.”

And I can’t say I disagree: He got exactly what he deserved. Whether we call it karma or cosmic justice or the will of God, Tiller was served his due. Part of me wants to rejoice that a man who spent much dealing death to the unborn – and in what is arguably the most violent way imaginable – is no longer available to “serve” women.

But in the end, I can’t reconcile those feelings with what I believe to be true of God. To rejoice in a man’s murder, no matter what he has done to deserve it, doesn’t fit. I don’t know that man’s heart. I have no means of judging him or his actions or his place in his church. I don’t know his motives. And while I vehemently loathe his life’s work and am at least glad to know it is finished, I firmly believe there were better ways to address the problem.

There are always better ways to address the problem, right? Better than killing?

Here’s what I said to my cousin, and it’s what my heart and my head both scream in situations like this: “…Is that justice? [This story] broke my heart. Why? Because violence begets violence: this much is proved. But…is that what Jesus would have us do? Is that how He would have reacted? Is that how He treated criminals? Or did He offer them redemption? If God is the God of redemption…how was redemption served? Dr. Tiller did indeed get what he deserved, in all fairness. I’m grateful God doesn’t serve us what we’re due, but rather what He’s offered. We’re all murderers, in our hearts or in our actions.”

A few weeks ago, my sister told me how she responds to my two little nieces when they argue that something “just isn’t fair.” She says, “What’s fair?” And the truth, which both nieces know well (but still hate to say out loud – because really, who wants to acknowledge the truth when it’s not fair?), is simply, “Death and Hell.”

Indeed: I am grateful we don’t get what we deserve, but in exchange get what we most decidedly do NOT deserve. And as such, ought not our response be to extend the same grace and mercy, the favor of possible redemption, to everyone else?

I know I’m a bleeding heart and am probably only seeing one very tilted side to the story. So I’d love to hear more (your) thoughts on this.


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