Forgiving the unrepentant is immoral

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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.

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howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/26/11 - 11:03 pm
0
0
Uh, this LTE is pretty

Uh, this LTE is pretty difficult to figure out. God's forgiveness depends on grace through Jesus Christ, and true repentance on the part of the sinner. Forgiveness is available, but not forced. It's up to you. God's anger and punishment will not be overlooked. Your choice is to suffer that penalty for yourself, or let Jesus suffer it for you and accept his sacrifice for your sin. Just seems like this letterwriter is confused, or is at least unclear in what is said.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/26/11 - 11:13 pm
0
0
LTEs on the AC are often

LTEs on the AC are often brought to you via Pat Robertson ministries and make about as much sense.

wtinney
0
Points
wtinney 09/27/11 - 02:36 am
0
0
I must say that this is one

I must say that this is one of the most poorly written letters to the Editor I've ever seen (even compared to the truncated sentence diatribe I sometimes write). Still, I want to be respectful because it is focused on my religious beliefs which are founded within my Southern Baptist roots.

First of all, what I believe the author would like to get across (or maybe, truthfully, I want to get across), is that the believers' concept of God have really gotten warped over the past 100 years - especially in this country.

For instance, when Christ described all these things that God was and then at the tail-end of His statement said "but above all these is love", you would have thought that the rest of those characteristics were not even listed. "God is love" does not amount to the same statement that "God is only love". God is a jealous god; God is a wrathful god; God is the omnipotent god! God is ALL THINGS. And none of us will ever be in a position to judge God but God will always be in a position to judge all of us. Therefore, the God is only love crowd holds onto something that is good at selling "religion" but is not really about spreading "the gospel of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior". In other words, the marketed lines of religion has nothing really to do with Christianity.

Another good example of marketing religion is that believers (and non-believers alike) have a "friend in Jesus". This concerns me as it reflects the 1960s and 70s parental model. You know, parents that want to be friends with their children instead of actually parenting? Overall, the statements reflecting that idea in the Bible are meant to give those that would listen the understanding that Jesus Christ lived and then died for everyone's sins. That was an act that even surpases any understanding of friendship still, what they meant was, you'll never have a better friend than Jesus who lived, died and lived again so that everyone could have his/her sins forgiven. The idea that we as social beings are on some emotional, equal plane (in terms of relationship) with Jesus is a fundamentally flawed statement that does not truly represent the Word. All those that are described in the Bible as being in the presence of God or even Jesus (Son of Man - 33 years of life) did so with the most reverence and respect that no friend would have ever been given.

Lastly, and now more directly to the author's ADHD piece, forgiveness by God comes in many ways (but only through His Son, Jesus Christ, at the onset). What I mean, the circumstance of man and the circumstance of God is different. God may forgive, still punish in the worldly-sense, but then leave a place in heaven for that person. This was seen with Moses (swallowed up in the Earth before his people reached the promise land - but still he sits at the left hand of God in heaven), David (with his Psalm and after some very terrible sins), and with the barely mentioned bunch - for example, Christ's forgiveness of His fellow crucified before His human death.

I believe that God's justice is hardly ever truly connected to man's justice. For God's justice is absolute and man's never can be. Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God what is God's. I believe this idea should let people know that whatever justice may receive by God, they will likely not receive it on this Earth at all - more likely receive it after death. Since Christ is not on this Earth, as the Son of Man, the chances that justice will come by the hand of God (while any specific man is still alive) has been reduced considerably. Not that it cannot come, mind you, as stated several times within the Word, to and with "God, all things are possible".

carcraft
25176
Points
carcraft 09/27/11 - 05:50 am
0
0
My forgiving some one who

My forgiving some one who sinned against me is for my own good. What that person does with my forgiviness is up to them! Were the people who nailed Jesus to the cross repentant when Jesus said "Father forgive them"?

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 09/27/11 - 06:44 am
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0
"Forgiving a person who is

"Forgiving a person who is not repentant for what he did is immoral and does not restrain future evil."

Future evil is not dependant on whether we forgive or not. Forgiveness is for our benefit. If we can not forgive then we allow bitterness, hatred, and revenge to take hold and create sin in our lives. Forgiveness is not forgetting or absolving someone of the wrong they have done, nor is it giving permission to continue to do the wrong.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 09/27/11 - 08:04 am
0
0
he raped and murdered four
Unpublished

he raped and murdered four women and the question is do we kill him or release him? somehow i doubt release is a real option. does the writer mean kill or not kill?
p.s. there's no invisible daddy watching your every thought or giving a hoot. you're welcome.

InChristLove
22459
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InChristLove 09/27/11 - 08:30 am
0
0
BSNM, you're correct. He's

BSNM, you're correct. He's definitely not invisible.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 09/27/11 - 08:53 am
0
0
That's OK, ICL. BSNM can

That's OK, ICL. BSNM can express their opinion that there is no God. Of course, they cannot prove that. But, sharing an opinion is OK as long as they don't try to make their opinion absolute truth.

Fundamental_Arminian
1833
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 09/27/11 - 10:14 am
0
0
"Forgiving a person who is

"Forgiving a person who is not repentant for what he did is immoral and does not restrain future evil" (Richard Hogue).

I wish Mr. Hogue hadn't used the word "immoral." It's relative and subjective. Mores and norms vary from society to society. In certain areas of our country, acts formerly considered wrong or even perverted are now promoted as acceptable. The letter would've been clearer if it had stuck to biblical terms such as "sin" and "righteousness," "justice" and "mercy." These are well-explained in Scripture.

Mr. Hogue rightly says the Bible prescribes the death penalty for rape and murder. Murder, because it destroys people made in God's image, is especially sinful; but the sinfulness of murder means little or nothing to many Americans, especially to atheists, who consider it impossible to be an image-bearer of what doesn't exist.

The death penalty would be a deterrant to crime if it were carried out consistently and quickly. The numerous delays available to criminals can harden men's thoughts. "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil" (Ecclesiastes 8:11 English Standard Version).

Fundamental_Arminian
1833
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 09/27/11 - 10:24 am
0
0
"My forgiving some one who

"My forgiving some one who sinned against me is for my own good. What that person does with my forgiviness is up to them! Were the people who nailed Jesus to the cross repentant when Jesus said 'Father forgive them'?" (carcraft).

Please quote all of Jesus' prayer. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34 English Standard Version). The prayer covered people who didn't know they were crucifying God's Son. It doesn't concern willful, premeditated rape and murder.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/27/11 - 11:20 am
0
0
If you believe there is a god
Unpublished

If you believe there is a god then you should let this sick killer rapist meet him as soon as possible.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 11:58 am
0
0
"BSNM can express their

"BSNM can express their opinion that there is no God. Of course, they cannot prove that." No more than theists can prove there is or that there are no invisible garden gnomes following their every footsteps or that there is no flying spaghetti monster. It is up to the person claiming the existence to provide concrete, certifiable evidence.

That said -

"But, sharing an opinion is OK as long as they don't try to make their opinion absolute truth." Sharing this particular opinion is OK so long as the poster follows their own advice.

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 09/27/11 - 01:01 pm
0
0
There is nothing I or any

There is nothing I or any other believer can tell, describe or present to a non-believer that is going to convince them that God exists or not. The existence or reality of God can not be proven, it can only be experienced.

The only way to prove God exist is through personal experience of God.

Think of someone you love dearly, a spouse, a child, or a friend. How do you know that you really love that person? Truth is, there is nothing you can say that would convince me you love this person. It’s only through your experience do you know your love to be true. No matter what evidence you give me of your good intentions, your emotional feelings, or actions and deeds you may have made which "demonstrate" your love, no matter what you say, I can always find a different reason for your actions or intentions. I can interpret anything you tell me however I want, but you know your love is true because you experience it.

How do I know God exist? Because I've experienced it. I've experienced the presence of God firsthand. It's not a belief. It's not a thought that I hold in my mind that convinces me that God exists. It's an actual experience that is undeniable. It's an experience that is so real, so tangible, that it's impossible for me to deny.

Nobody can have a direct experience of God unless that is what they seek or want in their heart. Until then people will never have the proof they ask for.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/27/11 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Cassandra, for someone who

Cassandra, for someone who claims to know so much about God, you sure don't demonstrate it in your posts. To put Jesus Christ on the same level as a gnome or some mythical airborne gastronomic invader is not very intelligent of you. Christ was a real, historic personage. That's what you have to deal with, and his claims of deity.

I don't have to prove Christ existed. That's historical fact.

The debate centers on whether Jesus was God incarnate as he and his earliest followers claimed, or whether he was a liar.

That is the issue. Was Christ Lord or a liar?

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 01:42 pm
0
0
hcwk - sigh.....it is an

hcwk - sigh.....it is an example of how unsupportable your statement about "proving" god is. Who told you I was a Christian? Being raised in that faith does not make it the belief system I adhere to now.

You made claim that nontheists like bsnm cannot "prove" that god doesn't exist. I challenge you to "prove" that the invisible gnome or the flying spaghetti monster do not exist if you are going to make that claim. And you know what? You won't be able to do that, because there is no evidence to show they don't exist. You can't prove the existence of invisible, untouchable, unmeasurable, intangible, beings that are only heard inside someone's head. Can't do it. You may lay claim to belief, or claim (as ICL so eloquently did) that YOU are touched by this invisible being, but you cannot prove it DOES exist.

As for your historical evidence that Christ was a real person, the historical jury is still out on that one also.

InChristLove
22459
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InChristLove 09/27/11 - 02:10 pm
0
0
"for someone who claims to

"for someone who claims to know so much about God, you sure don't demonstrate it in your posts"

I don't believe HCWK was calling you a Christian.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 02:14 pm
0
0
Mr. Hague asks "The question

Mr. Hague asks "The question before the public is simple: Should the state execute him or release him?" What the heck? Why would the state have to release him just because they did not execute him? This question makes no sense whatsoever, just as the rest of the letter makes no sense. I am not a supporter of the death penalty because of the unequal and often unjust manner in which it is doled out in this country (how many super wealthy people on death row? a man convicted on eyewitness testimony of which 7/9 witnesses recant is executed while a man who confessed and had DNA evidence against him has his sentence commuted to life), however, if anyone should be served their death penalty conviction it is Rivera, who fully confessed, not only to these but other attacks and who was convicted with full forensic evidence.

As for forgiving him? That is up to each individual who has felt harmed by him. Forgiving is not for the person who has caused the harm, it is for the peace of the person who was harmed. Forgiveness does not take away the consequences. To not forgive is to hold onto anger against a person whose actions you cannot control and giving them the ability to victimize you further.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 02:16 pm
0
0
ICL - it appeared implied in

ICL - it appeared implied in the context of the post. Whatever my belief system is has no bearing on the ability to "prove" that a god does or does not exist. It is up to the believer to believe without proof. That is the whole point of "faith". If you had proof, it would be science.

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 09/27/11 - 02:34 pm
0
0
I didn't read that

I didn't read that implication in the context but since the comment was directed to you, then I suppose your view is what would determine a response. Here again, I didn't read where HCWK was implying your belief system determined the existence of God or not, only that your knowledge of Jesus Christ appeared to be limited despite many previous comments insinuating otherwise.

I will say that I agree with most of your 2:14 pm post and that this comment would have served better if posted in lieu of your 11:13pm post last night.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 09/27/11 - 02:38 pm
0
0
I must have missed something,

I must have missed something, where was it reported that the choices were execution or release? I thought the question was execution or life incarceration.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that the consequences go away or that trust is restored in the area of the person's failings. God made it clear that we are to obey both civil law and his commandments. Forgiveness isn’t always about the wrong doer, but it is always a gift to the one who was wronged.

Rivera, can have both, forgiveness for his sins and execution for the crimes he committed.

Like the Apostle Paul said, those who believe where sin flows grace abounds more abundantly just don't understand grace at all.

InChristLove
22459
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InChristLove 09/27/11 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Willow I don't know where the

Willow I don't know where the letter writer got the opinion that it was execution or rlease. I agree with your post that forgiveness does not mean acceptance of wrong or that trust is restored. Neither does it mean an absence of punishment.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 09/27/11 - 03:02 pm
0
0
“Reinaldo Rivera has

“Reinaldo Rivera has confessed to the rape and murder of four women in the CSRA and appealed his death sentence.”

Gee, if he confessed I don’t see any issues unless he had a form of mental illness that prevented him from distinguishing right from wrong. Everything I’ve read so far indicates that is not the case. Current law and subsequent rulings have upheld his conviction and sentence. I don’t see any issue with executing him; however, I do have one regret:

I will miss his commentary on Fox he’s an articulate Libertarian.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 03:51 pm
0
0
ICL - while it's nice that

ICL - while it's nice that you support my one comment over the other, I meant what I said and stand by both. It is not necessary that you agree with either or both.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 09/27/11 - 03:53 pm
0
0
Yes, ICL, isn't it freeing to

Yes, ICL, isn't it freeing to understand forgiveness. We forgive because we have been forgiven, but it doesn't mean that we are to be foolish people. We have choices in forgiveness that do not always call for reconciliation.

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 09/27/11 - 04:26 pm
0
0
Willow, you are absolutely

Willow, you are absolutely correct. In some situation, even though forgiveness is given, reconciliation is not in the best interest.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/27/11 - 04:46 pm
0
0
Cassandra: No, the jury is

Cassandra: No, the jury is not out on the reality of Jesus Christ. Sure, some lame liberal scholars are trying to make a name for themselves and have had the audacity to try and question it. But, when you have contemporary Roman, Greek, and Jewish (i.e., anti-Christian) historians writing about Jesus, that pretty much settles the issue, don't you think? How convenient for someone 2000 years later to say they know better than folks who lived at the same time. You just shot your credibility by even mentioning that notion.

You tried to sidestep the point -- but at least you didn't run off this time. Any credible scholar knows Christ lived. Was he God or not? THAT is the issue.

If you prefer to dodge the issue and play with flying pasta, then by all means. That is your right. You can dodge the issue now. But, eventually, you'll need to make a decision about whether Jesus is Lord or is a liar.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/27/11 - 05:41 pm
0
0
Getting way off topic...I
Unpublished

Getting way off topic...I don't care if you use your own name. I don't use mine for several reasons. None of them are any of anyone's business but mine. Execute this trash and quit letting him waste air!

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/27/11 - 06:23 pm
0
0
Cassandra, the only real

Cassandra, the only real controversies concerning the existence of Christ are in the minds of those who seek away to avoid him -- like you are apparently doing. You are still avoiding the twice-mentioned, above issue regarding Jesus Christ. That is what is meant by "running away". Not vacating the message board, which we all do. But, running away from issues.

We do appreciate your posts. Many are quite entertaining. Some are downright fantasy.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/28/11 - 08:51 am
0
0
Cassandra, what I believe is

Cassandra, what I believe is of no account. Same for you (sorry, but that's the truth).

Here is the issue: If Jesus Christ (remember him?) is indeed Lord as he claimed, then YES, that is the ONLY absolute spiritual truth out there. Everything else is counterfeit. That's not hypocritical or intolerant, that just simple logic. Christ said he was the Way, Truth, and Life, and that was the ONLY way to God. If this is true, all the isms and Zorasters you mention are inconsequential in terms of bearing spiritual truth, as these all deny that Christ is the only way to God.

So again, for the 4th time, I reiterate that it's all about Jesus. Do you believe he is Lord or is a liar? That is the crux of the matter, and will determine how you view all the other belief systems you mention.

By the way, please understand that truth is not based upon vote. Democracy does not determine spiritual truth. All the billions of numbers you love to quote are meaningless if Jesus is indeed Lord and is the only way to God.

Do you have the courage to finally step up and answer the key question that you continue to avoid?

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/28/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
hcwk - the majority of the

hcwk - the majority of the people on this planet do not believe as you do. The fact that I do not answer your question regarding YOUR faith is not running away. The question you pose is one you must answer for yourself.

I in no way have attempted to sway you from your beliefs and ask that you give others the same respect and adhere to your own advice - "...sharing an opinion is OK as long as they don't try to make their opinion absolute truth."

For the last time I will answer your question. The historical jury is out as to the real existence of Jesus. I believe the bible to be the work of iron age men and not of a god. Therefore I can offer no opinion on the question you put forth, but will say that I greatly respect the majority of what Jesus is credited with teaching, teachings of which were also taught by others, such as Siddhartha the Buddha, many hundreds of years before Jesus is said to walk the earth.

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