By Stephen Altrogge
Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial for the twenty-plus years of atrocities that took place in his abortion clinic. The details of what actually happened in that clinic are enough to make you vomit, scream, and want to punch a wall. The more I read about the case the more it becomes clear that Kermit Gosnell was an evil man who did tremendously evil things. Horrific, holocaust-like things. Demonic things.
How should we Christians respond to this kind of evil? After all, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who mistreat us. So how do we respond to a man who has killed babies, hurt women, and committed other untold wicked deeds? We respond in two ways.
PRAY FOR JUSTICE
There is such a thing as godly rage. In Romans 13:3-4 it says:
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 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.
God appoints rulers, judges, presidents, kings, and supreme courts to act as servants on his behalf. They are appointed by God to execute God’s wrath upon those who do evil. God has placed a divine sword in the hands of the men and women who rule our country, and they are to use that sword on behalf of the Lord.
Therefore, it is appropriate to pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive divine justice. It is right to pray that government would convict him of his crimes and appropriately sentence him for his crimes. If that means the death penalty, so be it. We should pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive justice for the wickedness he has done. It is right to pray that the government would fulfill its God-given duty.
And we can be assured that even if Gosnell does not receive appropriate justice now, he will receive appropriate justice when he stands before the throne of God. We serve a God of justice, and he will not let injustice win. There are no mistrials or hung juries with the Lord.
PRAY FOR MERCY
Strange as it may seem, we should pray for Kermit Gosnell to experience both God’s justice and God’s mercy. In Ezekiel 33:11 the Lord says:
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…
In this passage we see the beautiful complexity of God. He is a God of justice who will not let a single evil deed go unpunished. At the same time he is also a God of mercy who takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. God’s desire is that Kermit Gosnell would repent of his sins, embrace the forgiveness available through Christ, and receive eternal life.
When we’re confronted with wickedness on the scale of Gosnell’s, we’re also confronted with the scandal of the free gospel. If Gosnell turned to Christ, every one of his sins would be forgiven. Would he still be executed by the state? Possibly. And that would be right. Forgiveness of sins doesn’t mean escape from the earthly consequences of sin. But he wouldn’t experience the wrath of God because Christ took the wrath in his place. Christ became the baby killer in his place. Incredible.
When confronted with extravagant, Gosnell-like, Boston-like evil, we should pray that the perpetrators of evil would feel the sword of God’s justice. We should also pray that the wicked men and women involved would experience the incredible, life-changing, sin-forgiving mercy of God.
We don’t serve a safe God. His ways are not like our ways. But we do serve a just God and a good God. As we read the headlines, let’s pray for mercy and justice to prevail.
Stephen Altrogge serves as pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA. Stephen is author of the books Game Day For the Glory of God: A Guide For Athletes, Fans, and Wanabes and The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence. Stephen blogs at The Blazing Center.