Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.–1 John 4:10
CRIMINALS. That’s how we see them. But more than the nine-word legal term for people who have committed a violation of what we the constitution is right, these people are also human beings who laughs, cries, and prays.
Having the opportunity to see them firsthand, I should say it was scary because of the personal prejudice and prejudgment we put on ourselves for what the society is telling us. Yet seeing them dancing with enthusiasm and happiness changed my whole perception of them as fully dangerous people.
I got the chance to dance with the YouTube and world sensation Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates with the song “Nobody” by the Korean group, Wonder Girls.
In my previous post “Surpassing Behind Bars for the One” a man left a comment. It stated that with this “dancing” activity of the inmates, what more could discourage the youth from the slums to do wrong and avoid going to the prison.
My response? I would have had the same thought but reflecting from God’s Word, we as sinners should not judge others based on what the media and society is telling us. It is true that they have done gruesome things in their lives before getting inside the jail but they are now paying for it. Could we condemn them (criminals) forever? No. God himself loves the sinner but hates the sin. God showed us His true love that even a criminal has the right to be called His child.
Paul (Saul) in the Bible was a prosecutor of Jesus’ followers before he became a Christian. Paul had killed many Christians and led soldiers to stone those who believe in Jesus. This changed until he accepted Christ in his life. In fact he became one of the strong pillars of Christianity.
Then there’s one of the criminals who was put to death the same time with Jesus. He (criminal) asked Jesus to bring him to heaven–and Jesus did as He promised.
It is normal though to think bad of those who were jailed because of what some of them portrays in the world. But the thought of them having a second chance to be transformed from their old bad ways into a new beginning as good follower of Christ is not impossible.
The Ampatuan and Ivler case
Even if it is hard to accept, God still has a room for Andal Ampatuan Jr., alleged mastermind of the November 23 massacre in Maguindanao, and Jason Ivler, the wanted killer of two road shootings, in heaven. But of course God is a fair God and every sin has a consequence as well.
Going back to Paul’s testimony, Paul didn’t automatically enjoy his life as a Christian. He did have to endure his blindness and went to a prophet to heal him. Likewise, Andal Jr. and Jason will have to face their consequences of the crimes they committed, and God for sure would give them equal judgment.
What Andal Jr. and Jason did were unforgivable in human standard and personally I would want them to die slowly…(grrr…) In the past months, media groups have asked individuals on their reaction on the killings and I bet you all of them answered in anger and despair.
Yet God sees these “criminals” in a different way… He would be willing to forgive them if only they repent…and this makes God—God. His thoughts are higher than ours, hard to comprehend. His words are deeper than ours. His love is stronger than ours–that He is willing to sacrifice His own Son to redeem us from sin (Jn.3:16).
Perhaps next time I see a criminal or a former one, I would still have a little fear to face them, but maybe I would be more open to love them and accept them for who they are–and hey, there is still this benefit of the doubt on the matter. Oh well, I really don’t know what to do…still startled…heheh…I’ll pray for sure though! ^_^