Reinaldo Rivera has confessed to the rape and murder of four women in the CSRA and appealed his death sentence.
The question before the public is simple: Should the state execute him or release him?
Moral justice demands his life, just like it states in Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” The reason? God says to do so.
But this poses an odd paradox in biblical teachings, for the same God who preaches forgiveness does not always forgive and forget. God will punish and hold people responsible for their actions, whether for slander or murder. Adam and Eve sinned and were tossed out of Eden. Cain killed Abel and he was condemned. The generation of Noah sinned and God destroyed everyone but Noah’s family. In one incident after another, we read of God’s anger and punishment.
We also read of repentance, retribution and accountability of divine punishment. In order to believe that God punishes evil yet forgives man of his evil, something must be missing.
Forgiveness is not a unilateral action. God says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy ...”
Forgiveness is God’s willingness to overlook the sins of the past for the sake of the future. But God is unwilling to condone vicious crimes by ignoring the evil things. An unrepentant sinner will mistake God’s mercy for permission to continue sinning and will continue in his ways. For God or man to forgive the individual sinner may be merciful to the sinner, but it is cruel to the rest of mankind. Forgiving a person who is not repentant for what he did is immoral and does not restrain future evil.