Forget Forgiveness – I Want Rapists to Suffer

courtroom-898931_1280I needed a couple days to cool off before I wrote on this topic. By now, everyone in America has heard of Brock Turner, the man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman last year. While the prosecution asked for a 6 year sentence, the judge thought that a long prison term would have “a severe impact” on the criminal and gave a sentence of 6 months, of which there is a possibility he may only serve 3.

When I heard that I nearly lost my mind.

3 months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman. What has this world come to? There are no words that can express the depth of loathing I have for the man who assaulted the woman and the judge who is refusing to bring justice against the vile perpetrator.

But Chris, what about Jesus’s words about forgiveness? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to forgive and move on?

NO!

The context of Jesus’s words is not even remotely close to dealing with one person raping another. Jesus said,

“Even if your brother wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, forgive him.” (Luke 17:4)

Jesus wasn’t being literal. He wasn’t advocating a 7-time forgiveness, but it you get to number 8 you’re free to withhold forgiveness. Jesus was trying to teach people about a character issue – are we willing to be people of forgiveness when people who wrong us repent and seek forgiveness. Jesus wasn’t talking about legal justice.

And Brock Turner has never repented or asked for forgiveness. He’s given excuses – he had too much to drink. There is no ownership or responsibility. There is no repentance.  All we need here is justice. And the Bible is not short on discussing justice.

  • To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.(Proverbs 21:3)
  • When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. (Proverbs 21:15)
  • He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
  • Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.(Isaiah 1:17)
  • For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4)

That’s just a few. We ought to be pursuing justice against evil people who wreak havoc on the lives of the innocent. This man Turner should not be allowed to escape justice for ANY reason. I tend to hold more to the thinking of the Psalmist who, when contemplating Israel’s enemies, blesses those who dash the heads of the enemy’s babies against the rocks.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”

O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,

blessed shall he be who repays you

with what you have done to us!

Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones

and dashes them against the rock!
(Psalm 137:7-9)

So I confess openly that I wrestle with developing a heart of forgiveness and seeing this evil man suffer. I know that, as a society, we must do better to protect people from assault and to pursue REAL justice against the evil people who perpetrate it on others.
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What do you think? How do you feel about forgiveness vs. justice? Just keep your comments polite towards each other, even in disagreement.

9 Replies to “Forget Forgiveness – I Want Rapists to Suffer”

  1. My son gets 3 years for rolling up on a couple of girls walking and asked them to go for a ride. Well…this guy touched, o.k. raped a woman. 6 months? Really? ??….my son has a future. Plays music and has a very huge heart.parents who love and support him. Yet, the judge did not. Are. He example for others. Great, my son’s future was not considered. Yet, the next guy gets 6 months. Hum….3years for mistaken a girl for 18….6months if you rape her???? Something is very wrong…but, I forgive the system that used my son as a example. I forgive the people who threatened us. I may HATE your actions,,,,,,or disagree with your lifestyle,,,,,,,,but I love you as a person no matter what..and I do forgive. Forgiveness frees you up for more love. Above all else. Above hate..love one another…..how did I do pastor?

    Like

  2. Being a survivor of rape myself it took me a very long time to forgive the man that defiled my body. I had to forgive this person for me not for him. I had to let go of all the hate I had for him for me to start really healing. I know who he is, he even admitted to raping me yet never punished legally. This happened 30 years ago and over the past 30 years I have seen him suffer many tragedies but ultimately he will have to answer to God. I had to be responsible for my own salvation which included forgiving my rapist. He has never apologized to me and I don’t know if he’s ever repented but that will be for God to judge him.
    I realized many years ago that if I relied on man for justice I would be sorely disappointed every time.
    The best advice that I could give any person that has been raped is be a survivor not a victim. If the legal system fails to provide justice, use your voice, speak out and as we continue to bring awareness that rape IS NOT okay hopefully our justice system will follow suit. Thanks for letting me share.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was thinking about this exact same thing last night. Christ didn’t free us from our earthly consequences, he freed us from our eternal consequences. We must do our part to act justly – and justice was not served here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think there is any justice ever. What’s a prison sentence? I mean really. Sure having all the rapist locked up would make me feel better. But it doesn’t give the victims anything except a temporary satisfaction. I don’t think humans are capable of ever fairly evening out the score.

    Like

    1. I agree – there is no perfect evening out the score, but as a society we mete out punishment saying, “This is not acceptable behavior in our society.” Part of it is about punishment as deterrent. Part of it is punishment as social vengeance. If it happened to one of my two daughters, I’d be in favor of the death penalty (being completely candid, here)…

      Liked by 2 people

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