Open Letter to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Editor’s Note: This is an anonymous submission to Christians United For Jahar.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in boat Boston Marathon Bombing

You will never see this.

But other people will.  And some of them will probably hate me for it.

Despising you almost destroyed me.

The first time I saw your photo? My first thought was, “Are they actually beaming about what they were about to do?”

Maybe you were.  Because you are decieved. The darkness in you scares me because that same darkness surrounds me when I walk down the street. One of the scariest things to me is that the people you wouldn’t expect to harm anybody, are the very ones capable of causing irreparable damage to unsuspecting lives forever.

You are a walking contradiction.  And to be honest, throughout the last few months everything within my flesh has wanted to despise you. But I can’t. I won’t.

You stand before a court of men and one day I will stand before a throne. And you will too. Before this supreme Judge, apart from one thing my offenses are no less than yours. Apart from this one thing, my good works amount to nothing. Because good works alone can never outweigh sin. That wouldn’t be just. I’m no terrorist but I am a murderer by heart. I have maimed with my thoughts and actions. I’m depraved. It’s in my bones. But do you know that that one thing I mentioned earlier is?


Does your God require your blood, your brother’s blood, the blood of people cheering on the streets, so that you can gain his acceptance and approval? Did your God really ask you to stain Boylston street red?

Because my God gave His own blood. He stained a wooden cross. Maybe your God told you to die in order to be worthy. My God died for me because I could never be.

Maybe your God wanted you to atone for your own sin by taking lives you had no business touching. But my God gave Himself as the atonement I would never be able to provide for myself no matter what I did.

Did you feel forsaken by your God as you lay in your own blood in a dry docked boat? What was really going through your head as you scribbled the Shahada with wounded hands? I have news for you. Despite everything, my God was there.

The same God Who’s hands once bled so that yours wouldn’t have had to. The same God Who’s hands bled to save us from ourselves.

Your bomb blew shrapnel into my soul that will be there until the day I lock eyes with my Savior. Shrapnel that does not allow me to walk along carelessly as I used to, completely ignoring the suffering of this world that doesn’t even see it’s own desperate spiritual need. That’s what I see when I see that overly used DMV-style picture of you. A hurting and blood thirsty world that can’t atone for itself.

Despising you almost destroyed me.

But one, or two, or three days after you were taken into custody, something stirred in me.


It was as if I could see the blood on my hands. It belonged to Jesus.

He bled because of my depravity.

I realized that before Him, apart from the atonement of that same blood, I stand exactly where you do now.


I saw the love God has for you. I didn’t even choose to care. It was like God showed me a little fragment of His heart for humanity; even the darkest pits of it. I’m telling you, that love of His, it’s fervent. It’s as convicting as a knife to the heart. And it’s like coming home.

Now, I will not hate you. I will never hate you. I cannot know the love of the Father if I won’t even love those who don’t deserve it. Since the day I first felt that convicting burden there is one thing I have wished that you would know.

Even when there is no just way for earthly redemption, there is redemption through Jesus Christ. Through His blood. He was wounded for you.

Blood is the only thing separating you from Him. I want you to see Him. He’s pretty amazing.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
“Can you forgive? No. I can’t either. But He can.”
Corrie ten Boom

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2 Responses to Open Letter to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

  1. Bri says:

    This is so beautiful, sister. Thank you for sharing.

    Rereading this post again today in order to comment on it, this part sticks out to me: “Maybe your God told you to die in order to be worthy. My God died for me because I could never be.” What a stark contrast. What an amazing, beautiful God we worship and get the privilege of calling Father. May Jahar one day have what we have.

    • whowrotethis says:

      Thank you so much Bri. I so urgently want him to come to our Lord Jesus Christ! For the rest of his life (or mine, if my time were to come first) I will being praying that he does.

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