Today during Jahar’s status conference, I was looking at a list on Twitter I have that includes Boston journalists who have covered his case. One of them, Laurel J. Sweet (@laurel_sweet), was tweeting about sentencing going on the same time in a different case. While I intended to focus on news about Jahar, I was gravitated toward her tweets, which quoted victim statements in the rape and murder trial of Seth Mazzaglia. Here are some excerpts:
I want you to know unequivocally that I hate you.
You’re a twisted individual who brought only darkness and pain to this world.
You’ll live your days in the dim light you relish.
Monsters really do exist.
I hope you are in solitary confinement for so long that you forget what fresh air smells like.
Not even hell would take such a diseased soul.
You are officially uninvited from society.
It’s the end of the rope, pal.
Rot in hell, you degenerate.
You are pathetic.
This is a glimpse into what almost inevitably will happen with Jahar. If he is convicted in the first part of the trial, the sentencing phase will include victim statements to help the jury determine whether he should receive life without parole or the death penalty. Those statements will likely sound quite similar to those quoted above from Mazzaglia’s sentencing.
That got me thinking about the power that those victim statements could have, not only on the jury but also on Jahar himself.
May the harsh words open his eyes and wake him up to what he did so that he would see it as sin and as something God hates. May such words alert him to his desperate need for forgiveness.
But the good news of the Gospel is that we don’t only have a need for forgiveness; we also have a way to meet that need and receive that forgiveness. Be praying that God would be moving on the hearts of those victims and victims’ family members who will speak at the trial, that even one of them would share with Jahar the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that is offered him through Jesus Christ.
What more powerful way for Jahar to be reached with the Gospel than out of the mouth of someone who he would expect to hate him and wish death upon him but instead shares with him a way by which he can receive eternal life.