What if the very people who would be most expected to hate Jahar would instead show him unconditional love?
It’s one thing that we, who were not at the marathon and who do not know anyone who was injured or killed, love Jahar, pray for him, and want to reach out to him. How much more powerful would it be if even one victim or family member of a victim reached out to Jahar with the love of Christ and the Gospel?
What if something like the following would happen to Jahar?
Here’s when I realized the death penalty was a spiritual issue, not just a political one: I was talking to a man on death row, and he told me his story. He confessed to having done something terrible, which he will regret for the rest of his life. But then it got even more interesting. He told me the story of his trial. During the course of his sentencing, the victim’s family argued that his life should be spared, that he should not be sentenced to death.
“They were Christians… so they talked a lot about mercy,” he told me matter-of-factly, as if every Christian was against the death penalty. He went on, “They believed that Jesus came not for the healthy but for the sick. And they argued that God may not be done with me yet. So I was spared the death penalty because of the victim’s family.” Finally he said, “I wasn’t a Christian then. But you better believe that I am one now.”
And they argued that God may not be done with me yet… I wasn’t a Christian then. But you better believe that I am one now. Imagine Jahar being able to say those words one day because even one person decided to let go of unforgiveness and see him as a possible recipient of God’s grace.
I also recently watched this powerful video about a young woman whose mother was killed by her stepfather. She chose to forgive him and share the Gospel with him at his sentencing, wanting him to come to Jesus despite all he had done.
I knew with the media being there and how packed the courtroom was that it was a good opportunity to show God’s grace in this situation. Regardless of what happened, I forgave him because there was nothing for me to hold onto, to keep that from him. He’s still alive and he still has the chance to ask God to come back into his life and forgive him.
Like that man, Jahar is still alive and still has the chance to receive God’s forgiveness. Let’s pray that God would be working in the hearts of the victims and their family members, that He would lead even one of them to demonstrate His grace and forgiveness to Jahar and to share the Gospel with him whether it’s at the trial or through some other method.