What better time to discuss the pardon of murderers than Sanctity of Life month?
If you heard Barbour's explanation of his pardoning of the prisoner trustee's, you'll know why I say I'm proud of him. I also can readily see the Democrats at work against a Republican... again.
I think the problem Republicans are having is they don't explain themselves (in triplicate, double-spaced, novel-form explanations, proofed by their college English professor) before doing something or saying something in public. If Barbour had released a statement along with the pardons there wouldn't have been a hullabaloo like happened this past week. Then, of course, there wouldn't have been all the publicity and reporters asking so many questions and so much TV news time. Ah, well... Barbour did an excellent job of explaining why he granted those particular pardons besides tradition. The fact he trusts his grandchildren with those trustees, and the fact he never pardoned anyone on death row seems to be the 1-2 punch TKO, don't you think?
I loved the way he said "most of the people from Mississippi are Christians", and that Christians believe in forgiveness, and second chances. That is true. We believe it, but why don't we practice it? Why do so many Christians (professing Christians) have such a death grip on things like anger, bitterness, revenge, and stiff-necked unforgiveness? Setting aside the fact that too often those are the feelings felt initially when someone slams that knife in our backs and twists it until we scream, Christians are supposed to rise above those feelings and embrace the Christ-like responses of forgiveness, and big-heartedness, and don't forget "turning the other cheek" stuff. So why can't victims of violence do that? I mean, Christian receivers of violence, of course.
It would seem that would be a goal to strive toward so that we could show the world the Mind of Christ, however the major question is: How long?
"For what?" I can see you say.
How long does a Christian have to forgive, or overcome, something horrible? Twenty years? A year? A week?
Barbour said something so striking when talking about the murderers he pardoned. "These men have accepted responsibility for their sin. They have spent time in prison for it and worked hard to earn the title, Trustee. They have asked forgiveness for their sin."
Astounding statement when one reads something from Luke along side it: Luke 17:4 And if seven times of the day he sins against you, and seven times of the day turns to you saying, I repent, you shall forgive him.
That isn't a suggestion, or a policy. It is a command. Jesus is quite adamant about it, and to bring it all into focus, Matthew 6:15 But if you will not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. How about Matthew 18:34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
Then when He says, "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." Matthew 5:39 Notice He doesn't say, "Give him your second child to murder also", or "Offer him your head to shoot as well as your chest". That isn't the kernel from this particular verse. When a person returns good for evil it disarms the evil. It also takes an extraordinarily strong will to be able to follow through with this command to forgive, and to embrace non-violent responses. (This is why we sometimes find ourselves speechless against some dastardly, back-stabbing act of a co-worker or supposed friend. God sometimes stops up our mouth before we can pour fuel on the smoldering flame when the problem happens within the church body. I do not know why He holds us silent sometimes and other times not, I just know it happens.)
Jesus is directing each Christian's responses within the scope of the Family of God, not from the scope of government response to criminal action. Perhaps when we react with kindness and forgiveness to nonChristians it is a testimony far beyond what any words could convey, and resembles something more like Christ hanging on the cross in perfect sacrifice.
I pray I have that strength of will to bend to God's will of forgiveness and kindness putting to good use the Fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.