I opened the paper this morning and there she was. A 20 something young woman who was being sentenced to life in prison for killing her newborn baby boy. After killing the child, she then wrapped him in towels, put him in a trash bag and threw him into the trash. The picture in the paper showed this young woman sitting in court with her head down and tears in her eyes.
I slowly read the article to my wife and we digested the whole sordid story paragraph by paragraph. After reading the article the first thing I noticed was my attitude toward the young woman was different than it would have been just a few years ago. Several years ago I would have shaken my head with Pharisaical disgust and wondered how anyone could be that stupid. I would have then said “she got what she deserved”. Finally, I would have gotten in my car and drove down to court house so I could be one of the first in line to stone her when she was taken off to prision.
That was then. This is now. I saw her as a person with a sin nature that simply overpowered her. At her sentancing her family described her as a caring, loving, gentle person. When I read that I thought that is probably exactly right. Her sin nature was always lurking right below the surface and what happened to her is what happened to Judas. (John 13:27a (NRSV) After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. …”) There is no doubt in my mind she was a wonderful girl. I’m also just as convinced Romans 7 is on display here. She is battling inside and loses because she has no power or support system to help her work through this mess. The entire situation is a sad state of affairs. She had been let down and abandoned by everyone that had a chance to help her. Her “boyfriend” (who I am sure told her how much he loved her) is no where to be found if they even know who he is. She has been abandoned by everyone. Everyone except God! Of course she is guilty. That’s not the point. King David was guilty. Moses was guilty. Paul was guilty. Jekyll is guilty. Hyde is guilty. YOU are guilty!
As I saw the picture of her sitting there crying and weeping, I could only think of John 8 and the woman the Pharasees dragged before Jesus. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt about her guilt. She was unable to answer her accusers. At the conclusion of the story, she was left alone with Jesus. He asked her where her accusers were. I envision her standing there with her head down and tears rolling down her cheeks as well. Jesus was pretty clear: He dicn’t accuse her! So, with the parable of the talents clearly in focus in my rearview mirror, how could I condem this young woman for anything? I have asked for and received God’s grace and mercy when needed. How can I not offer it to this young woman as well?