“I Hope You Rot in Hell!”

Yesterday, a terrible tragedy struck Northern Nevada.  Many of you have probably seen the news about a man who fired on several people, ultimately killing four of them, before taking his own life.  Five of the people who were shot were Nevada Army National Guardsman, three of which died.  Many find themselves utterly dumbfounded by this evil act.  Of course, compounding the issue is that, with the death of the shooter, we may never know why he did it.  There is a tremendous sadness, and even anger over this tragedy.  In fact, one commenter on a news website summed his anger toward the shooter by stating, “I hope God doesn’t show you mercy.  I hope you rot in Hell.”

I have found myself thinking about that phrase over the last twenty-four hours.  What should we think of someone who has committed such an atrociously evil act?  Should we truly desire for someone to “rot in hell?”  Should we really desire that God never show that person mercy?  Ultimately, I believe the answer is no.

Why should I make such a statement?  Isn’t God just?  Doesn’t He say that He will punish evil?  Yes, God is just, and yes, He does punish evil.  In fact, I think we should be grateful that God will punish the great evils committed in this world, that no deed done in darkness will escape His sight.  But I also believe that very same justice should make us fear and tremble.

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