I have a confession to make, and I'm gonna be honest.
You may not like me so much when you hear my admission.
In the Bible we learn the Lord says, "Vengeance is mine", and I have no doubt that's true.
But life frequently ain't fair, and if I find myself in certain scenarios I'm pretty sure I'll have to ask the Lord to forgive my sins.
When I became Civil Defense Director of one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S., my office adjoined the office of the County Coroner. He had to come through my office to get to his.
He was a nice older man with a sometimes horrible, interesting job. He came to his office infrequently, so when he did we'd share a cup of coffee and chat about his job and mine. He'd sometimes share "interesting" death scenes or autopsy photos with me.
One morning we got into a discussion about a case that happened about a year before I was appointed Civil Defense Director. He pulled out a file with photos of a pretty 15 year old girl lying face-up on the floor in a pool of blood and told this story:
"She walked in the door of her neighborhood Confectionary to find a classmate brandishing a gun in the owner's face. She apparently said '********'! What are you doing?! And the perpetrator, knowing she had identified him, turned, shot and killed her, then shot the store owner. The store owner survived and later witnessed against him. The robber was 14 and had had a "difficult upbringing". He was sentenced to detention in a juvenile facility until he turned eighteen."
I thought, "How would I feel if that was my daughter? Was justice served?"
In Arizona recently a rancher was killed on his own property, apparently by an illegal immigrant.
This guy was known to give food and water to those that came to his door, so there's a question as to why anyone would shoot him. But residents of this area South of Tucson have been trying for some time now to draw attention to the seriousness of their situation...
Drug runners are now crossing their property regularly.
Their cattle are being killed.
Their property is being damaged... fences torn down... hazardous litter being left behind.
I thought, "If this guy was my father, my brother, my son... knowing the Obama administration's reaction to Arizona's new "1070" law, would I feel justice was being served?"
I may be more emotional about such things than most, and I know it's self-destructive to be angry about things over which I have virtually no control.
But in both the above cases I'm fearful of what I would do if it was me with a loved one dead under those circumstances.
I'm afraid at some point it would include my getting on my knees to say a little prayer at the end of the day:
"Lord, please forgive me for I have sinned."