Tonight at my Bible study, a fellow student made a comment that was far more profound than she could possible have known.
Loosely paraphrased, she said we most need to forgive those who most torment us, because that person will be our roommate in heaven.
When she made this statement, she had no idea that I had gone to school with Jack Hensley. I had planned to lift him up in our prayer time, but we had not taken prayer requests yet.
It was a God moment -- my ears were open and His voice spoke to me. Yes! We must, somehow, find a way to forgive even the most cruel, most ghastly, most horrifying person.
But why? some may ask.
We must, because Christ came to Earth and submitted Himself to be crucified to save even that person.
Who needs redemption and restoration more than the worst of the worst? Who has moved so far away from a whole relationship with the Creator than those who would dare to destroy the Creation?
I think that loving the loveable is not so tough. It's not for us humans, so certainly it's not a challenge for God. But you know what? He loves the human monsters as well. It is for them, as well as for us, that He sent the Son.
Tonight we talked about parts of Genesis. When Eve (and Adam) ate of the Fruit, they knew they were naked. What did that represent? Far more than just showing a little skin and naughty bits. This was the moment when humans first understood being fearful and vulnerable. They hid from God because of the fear that had entered their lives.
And yet, God sought them out. He looked for them in the garden because He loved them.
He knew why they hid. Their act of disobedience had the natural consequences of fracturing the open, beautiful, loving and safe relationship God had enjoyed walking in the garden with them.
It is so hard to try to think in terms of forgiving those who behead people who have been on a mission of mercy. It's darn near impossible. But if I know that MY sins are forgiven, I have to believe that anyone who asks God for redemption will also be forgiven.
Now, I don't know if these monsters will, one day, understand their sin and repent of it, asking for God's forgiveness. It's not my responsibility to forecast that or to question their sincerity if they do repent.
What I do know is that heaven is going to hold a LOT of surprises when we get there. We better make room for some unexpected roommates.