Taking Joy in Tragedy

Over the course of the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been trying to digest the information surrounding the murder of Dr. George Tiller while he was serving as an usher at his Wichita church. That he was murdered was not entirely unanticipated. He had already been attacked once in 1993, and, prior to that, his clinic had been both blockaded and bombed by activists. He is the sixth victim of vigilante justice on the American abortion scene since the early 1990s – and those are only the attempts that “worked.”

I have little concern that my brothers and sisters in Christ will attempt to repeat this heinous act. My concern is the attitude we might take. Already, I’ve heard quips and comments like:

  • “He got what was coming to him.”
  • “His death was as bloody as his life.”
  • “He was pro-choice, and someone CHOSE to end his life.”
  • “I’m glad another baby-murder is off the streets.”

Dr. Tiller was no more or less deserving of judgment or death than you or me. Romans 3:23 states that all are guilty of sin, and chapter 6:23 calls death the natural consequence of sin. (Both passages then appeal to Christ’s blood as that which can redeem us from such a fate, but that’s another post.) Hebrews 6:4-6 specifically talks about the effects of a follower of Christ sinning – it is the same as putting Christ through another crucifixion. God takes sin seriously, and passages like Revelation 21:8 that lump lying and murdering into the same category. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. Let us not be quick to condemn another, for, in doing so, we condemn ourselves.

Based on scriptures like Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:4-8, I believe that God does recognize an unborn infant as a living being. I do believe that killing an unborn child is wrong. I am what is commonly referred to as pro-life. However, God is pro-life beyond the womb. All life is precious to Him. Doesn’t II Peter 3:9 read that God wants all to have the opportunity to come to Him? Doesn’t Romans 5 reveal that God was willing to send His Son on our behalf while we were undeserving? Doesn’t Jesus say His mission was to seek and save the lost in Luke 19:10? We should take no joy or satisfaction in the death of Dr. Tiller. We should only feel sympathy for his family and regret at needless violence claiming another life.

I Corinthians 13:6 states that a loving Christian does not rejoice in wrongdoing. If we rejoice in this death, we disregard love. In disregarding love, according to I John 4:8, we disregard God. Let us be very careful in the attitudes we take and the comments we make regarding this act of violence. Remember the love we want from our Father, and let our words and actions reflect that love in turn.