Yesterday Joshua Komisarjevsky was sentenced to death. He and his accomplice, Steven Hayes, were involved in a horrific crime in Connecticut. They abused and killed a woman and her two daughters. The tied-up father escaped and testified against these men.
The killings were so severe that the state did not pass a law to abolish capital punishment. Something within us finds certain horrific crimes justified by capital punishment. This “something” is not necessarily revenge or malice. It is justice.
It is easy to confuse justice from retribution. It is also possible to confuse rehabilitation from consequent reward or punishment. Biblically understanding these two strands prevents compromising justice in the name of love or love in the name of justice.
God is love. God is just. He alone perfectly administers both justice and love to a world rampant with sinners. Our sins may range in scale, but before a holy God, justice demands an eternal punishment.
This just demand was met at the cross where Jesus, the perfect man pays for sinful humanity’s sin. As God, he is big enough to ransom every single person who wants to be forgiven, without compromising justice.
If we want these Joshua and Steven to die in a blood-thirsty retribution, we are not thinking biblically. Ultimately if they were to repent and beg God for forgiveness in Jesus Christ, God can and will forgive.
Even those with such stains on their hands can spend eternity with a perfectly holy God, if their sins are perfectly paid for by Jesus Christ. Yet, there are earthly consequences that cannot be erased.
Time will tell how the injured father-husband heals and how the murderers understand their own offense against him. Their sin is ultimately against God who owns them all.