What makes a bad person? Some of us know someone that we would refer to as “an evil person.” Or we might have read about such a person in the newspaper or heard about them on the news. Ted Bundy, the man who raped and killed numerous girls in the 1970s must have been an evil person. Or what about the sociopath who lacks a conscience, and likes to kill animals?
Adam Lanza, only 20 years old at the time, killed his mother, went to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, and killed 20 children and 6 adults. We have no doubt that Adam Lanza was an evil person who, after the massacre at the school, shot and killed himself. However, in the aftermath of Lanza’s killing spree, investigators discovered he had lived in isolation during his childhood until the time he committed the crime. If only he had known God. Perhaps, Adam wouldn’t have lived in isolation, because God’s most fervent desire is a relationship with us.
Perhaps you remember Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman in Texas sentenced to death in 135 years. After taking a Bible to her death row cell and studying it, Karla Faye became a follower of Christ in October 1983. “She later recalled, ‘I didn’t know what I was reading. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of my cell floor on my knees. I was just asking God to forgive me.’” Karla Faye became a Christian in October 1983. Thus, because she had a relationship with God, even as a prisoner living alone in a jail cell, she wasn’t isolated. She “was executed by lethal injection on February 3, 1998. As the lethal chemicals were being administered she was praising Jesus Christ.” The legal system’s judgement sent Karla Faye Tucker to the death chamber.
What about God’s judgment?
The Bible tells us that God’s judgment is very different from the legal system. For example, when Jesus began his ministry, the first thing he said was, “… Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17 emphasis added). When we become a follower of Christ, we repent, which means we turn away from self and focus on Jesus.
Furthermore, the apostle John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 emphasis added).
If Karla Faye Tucker was a true follower of Christ, then she confessed and repented of her sin, even her sin of murder. Accordingly, she is in heaven and living with Jesus for eternity. Some might say, “Well it’s pretty easy to turn away from murdering someone when you’re in prison.” That’s an understandable observation. Nevertheless, if a prisoner convicted of murder has a heart filled with murderous thoughts, they continue to commit murder in their minds, and some of them murder fellow prisoners or guards. Not true for Karla Faye Tucker.
The good news is that no matter what we’ve done wrong in our
life, if we confess and repent, and follow Jesus, we won’t face eternal damnation,
and instead, will spend eternity with God in heaven.