Is there hope for murdered children and their killers?

We live in a world that allows lethal child-murderers back into the community, many of whom are still dangerous predators and always will be. They show no remorse, no desire to understand the impact of their crime, and they do not seek help willingly. And we still haven’t come up with a failsafe way of protecting children from them.

Unfortunately, our inadequacy causes both the innocent and the criminal to suffer. The criminal suffers because the community views him with fear and revulsion, and he lives the life of a caged animal. Children suffer greatly too, because their joy-filled view on life is frequently shattered by news of hideous murders, perhaps in their own neighbourhood, requiring stern warnings from their parents to never talk to strangers. What child nowadays can wander alone without a care in the world? It’s absolutely ludicrous that we think of ourselves as a civilized and advanced society when we still cannot guarantee protection for our children or healing for the addicted.

The only thing that keeps me sane in such utter futility is the hope of a better life after this one, because this life is brutally unfair on the innocent and woefully inadequate in restoring the mentally ill. I hang on to the hope Jesus offered – and staked his own life to a cross as our guarantee of it – that he would personally lift us to a life beyond this one where the innocent won’t ever suffer again and restoration is guaranteed for all. The Bible’s underlying message is about another world being formed, described in the book of Acts as “the times of restitution of all things,” which God guarantees through Jesus Christ.

I like that phrase “all things,” because it covers everything and everybody, criminals and innocent alike. If an innocent life is cut tragically short by murder in this world it’s not the end of life forever. But nor is it the end for a life wrecked by addiction, either. Both will be restored.

Applying that same hope equally to all people, both guilty and innocent, is what keeps me going in this ridiculous world. I rest assured that one day innocent children will stand beside their killers and they will all receive the life and rehabilitation they couldn’t get in this life.

It doesn’t remove the horror of evil now or the helplessness of our inadequacy, but to those who are trying so hard to protect our children and reintegrate lethal criminals into the community, it offers hope and encouragement that God will make happen later what we couldn’t make happen now.

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