Have you heard about Kelly Renee Gissendaner? The Georgia woman is on death row for a murder she didn’t commit, but did plan with her lover, the actual killer. Her lover, Gregory Owen, plead guilty to the murder and assisted the prosecution. Owen will be eligible for parole in a few years.
Evidently this is what passes for justice in Georgia.
Gissendaner’s execution has been stayed twice, the second time for a problem with the drugs intended to kill her. The problem led Georgia to issue a moratorium on executions. Her lawyers have filed a lawsuit on her behalf because her weeks spent waiting for her execution interrupted by delays amounts to cruel punishment.
While in prison, Gissendander has changed dramatically. And some Christians have called the delays a miracle.
“I hope that Kelly’s story will show people across the country that personal transformation does happen,” said Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, “and the death penalty is wrong because it denies fellow human beings that opportunity to repent and be transformed.”
Wallis sums up a major problem with capital punishment. Once a prisoner is dead, so too is the opportunity for repentance.
So why would Christians – Christians who want people to repent and be saved by Jesus – ever support the death penalty and support denying people the opportunity to be saved?
I believe it’s because those Christians are more focused on the world, and crime and justice and law and order, than they are on Jesus. It’s that simple.
Christians who support executions want earthly justice in this world, even if it denies someone the opportunity to be redeemed by God.
When Christians think like this, is it any wonder non-Christians don’t want anything to do with them?