A couple of days ago, additional documents from the Tsarnaev case were released which included a heavily redacted summary of Jahar’s hospital interrogation, during which he was unable to speak and was writing information down for the investigators. Although most of the information was not new or was implied based on other information that was released, the document sent people reeling. This quote in particular caused a very strong reaction: “Jahar did not warn any of his friends to stay away from the Marathon because he didn’t care if they got hurt.” People who have strongly believed that Jahar was manipulated or intimidated by his brother and that the bombing was entirely against his character were suddenly confronted with his evilness – and I witnessed hearts toward him starting to change. Although I have long since understood how evil Jahar had to be to carry out an attack like this, I was still a little jarred with being confronted with his evilness head on.
Late last night, as I was crying out to God for Jahar, I had a sudden realization: Being confronted with Jahar’s evilness might be new for us – but it isn’t for God. None of this comes as a surprise to Him at all. As Jahar planned and carried out this attack with his brother, God knew every single thing that Jahar thought. He already knew that Jahar didn’t care if his friends got hurt. He knows far more terrible details than we ever will. And He loved him anyway. Even knowing how dark and evil Jahar’s heart had become, Jesus still shielded his body that night in the boat and kept his heart beating so that he would have the chance at eternal life. Even knowing the awful sickening thoughts that Jahar was having, our Father still looked down upon Jahar in that boat and said “Not this one. This one is Mine.” Even fully grasping Jahar’s callous lack of regard for human life, God still, in the words of John Piper, said “I want that man in My family.”
And that realization led me to my knees – not only because I was awed by the beauty of my God’s love for Jahar – but because I was also awed by the beauty of my God’s love for me – that He has loved me and chosen me even knowing every awful thought I’ve ever had and everything I’ve ever done to hurt Him. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Nothing about God’s love for Jahar has changed because of this “new information,” and so we must resist the temptation to let it change ours.