Remember her? This is Karla Faye Tucker, the Texas inmate who caused quite a bit of controversy back in the ’90s. She had hacked some people to death with a pickax and was sentenced to die by lethal injection.
The wheels of justice turn slowly, and, unlike her victims, Karla had an opportunity to come to Christ during her incarceration. She totally and miraculously turned her life around. Because of this, when her execution date arrived, all America was in an uproar, and news media from the world over condemned the state of Texas for still having capital punishment. Many influential people wrote then-governor George W. Bush, pleading for clemency for this woman. Big names among TV evangelists prayed that she would be spared.
She was executed February 3, 1998.
During and long after the debates and hubbub and final execution, I mulled everything over and came to several conclusions:
- Do I believe in capital punishment? Yes, because justice for some crimes cries out for more than mere incarceration. Because mercy should come also in the form of closure for those whose lives were affected by the criminal’s actions, and sometimes that closure can only come through the death of the perpetrator. Because the victims and their families deserve consideration too. This means that while I am totally anti-abortion, I’m not pro-life, because I believe in this kind of justice.
- Do I believe Karla was saved? Yes. Judging from everything revealed about her days in prison, I believe she’d truly received the grace God extends to all of us. There is nothing God can’t and won’t forgive. All one has to do is ask from the heart. Can you imagine refusing such a gift?! All one has to do to fall into the miraculous and merciful love, peace, and comfort only God can give is to ask forgiveness and turn to His ways, believing in Jesus Christ, who, by suffering our punishment for us, made this gift available to all.
- Did Karla go to Heaven? Yes. That is the destiny of all who believe in Christ.
- Were Karla’s sins forgiven her? Yes. Because God is faithful and just to forgive. Again, there is nothing God can’t and won’t forgive.
- Since so many Christians prayed for her physical salvation, and she was executed anyway, does that mean God doesn’t listen to our prayers? No. He heard. But while everyone else was considering Karla, God was considering the victims’ families, and what was just and merciful for them. Actions have consequences–God Himself set up this system. In some places, the consequences are life imprisonment. In Texas, the consequence of committing such a heinous crime is death. Physical death. Where the criminal spends eternity is between him/her and God.
I don’t know why, all these years after the event, it came to my mind again. I was reading in Proverbs and kept returning to one particular passage:
People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet, when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house (Proverbs 6:30-31, NKJ).
These verses cover everything about justice except forgiveness and mercy. It’s easy to feel compassion for someone who commits a crime because of a need, but despite the need, the crime was committed and the consequences must be paid. Justice demands it. How much more so when the crime is apparently senseless?
Forgiveness and mercy aren’t for the general population to give, they belong to the victims of the crime. God demands that His people practice forgiveness and mercy, and sometimes the only way we can do it is through His strength. Sometimes not even then.
But when someone commits a crime, s/he isn’t affecting just the victim and the victim’s family. God is affected–all sins are against Him. There is no such thing as a “victimless crime,” not that I mean to paint God as a victim, but even the most private of sins and crimes aren’t private to Him–He knows. Forgiveness and mercy are His to give, as is justice. It doesn’t matter what one gets away with here on Earth, because we are eternal beings–we don’t just die and cease to exist, we continue in a life different from our Earthly one. God is eternal, and His sense of justice is true and right–and it will be executed. Best to accept His gifts of forgiveness and mercy now than to take your chances later.
Again, I have no idea why I’m writing about this. Maybe God is helping me with my WIP Corporate Ladder, because the main character is going to commit a series of sins for which she’ll need forgiveness. Or maybe God has someone in mind who needs to see this. I have no clue–that’s His business.
Whatever the reason, the truth is presented for all to see: There is nothing God can’t and won’t forgive.
HERE’S THE STORY: I get to go and visit my mom for a while (yea!!!), and I won’t be on on line too often.
HOWEVER! I want to do a book-giveaway.
SO! I’ll be giving four books, a book away for every day I’m gone.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is leave me a note, a comment on my Facebook author page. Tell me you like rodeos, and what event is your favorite. Or tell me you hate rodeos, but have a fondness for cowboys.
WHEN I GET BACK, I’ll hold a random drawing and contact the four lucky winners!
Spread the word to your Twitter friends by hitting this tweet:
Author giveaway! Christian Romance *Give the Lady a Ride* free to four lucky readers! https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide
My question is this — why do so many not realize it is a spiritual law that you harvest what you reap? For every action, there is a consequence. Don’t expect you to answer; just want to let you know you clearly stated what I’ve been unable to define regarding why I am in favor of Texas’s capital punishment stand.
I haven’t understood the world’s logic in years, Gay. Some things that should be no-brainers apparently aren’t.
Powerful message Linda. Loved it, and the truths you so beautifully unfolded.
Well said, Linda. I personally struggle with the idea of capital punishment with the commandment to love and forgive my enemies. Hard to discern what to do. Your post is very thought provoking. Thank you for tackling such a tough subject.
As individuals, we are required to forgive, but the justice system was developed to execute consequences for crimes and injustices. Otherwise we’d live in a chaotic world.
My thoughts, anyway.