Friday, January 5, 2007

A Shocking Thing Happened To Me

For those with any sense of history, Saturday December 30, 2006 should be a date that shares a place in our memories similar to those triggered by mentions of December 7th, 1941, November 22, 1963 or September 11th, 2001. Now I am making no attempt here to equate the importance of these dates, only that for those with a knowledge of history, mentioning Sat. Dec. 30, 2006 will immediately bring to mind the image of Saddam Hussein swinging on the end of a rope.

Since I believe the Bible clearly teaches that the death penalty was instituted by God at the end of the Flood, in Genesis 9, I was not going to spend a great deal of time mourning the death of a truly evil and murderous man. In fact it probably could and should be mentioned that God told the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 32:40 to 43 to Rejoice in God's vengeance on the evil. God demands justice, he requires that those who shed human blood should have their blood shed by their fellow man. It is the responsibility of the Lawful to carry out God's justice on the lawless. I was glad to see Saddam Hussein get the punishment he clearly deserved.

All of that to get to this point. As I watched the scratchy video of Saddam being hanged, something happened to me that I was completely surprised by, I (farmer Tom), a strong and unflinching proponent of the Death Penalty (pause) felt sympathy for the Butcher of Baghdad, a mass murder, a wicked and perverse man. I was amazed. I was dumbfounded, I was speechless (ok, you probably won't believe that). Anyway, I was shaken to the core, how could I, a consistent and outspoken supporter of the government's responsibility to (Romans 13) "bear the sword", be feeling pangs of conscience for such an indisputably loathsome vile man.

I've thought about that reaction for several days. I have come to several conclusions about what I felt.
First, I was reminded again about the amazing power of the visual. To write about, to speak about, to read about, even to argue in favor of something can not touch the emotions like a few seconds of video. Somehow it is more real when we see it with our own eyes. My brain will have that image stamped in it's memory files until the day I die. Words, written and spoken fade into the vapors of time, but the visual image stays forever. That is both good and bad. Good in the terms of making something much more real to the viewer. I know that Saddam Hussein, a worthless piece of human debris is dead, because, (this is graphic) I saw the bastards neck snap. He's dead, no question about it. Its bad because, its much more real to the viewer. I know that Saddam Hussein, a worthless piece of human debris is dead.

So much of what we see on TV or in movies is faked, it's cleaned up, so that death, blood and mayhem are clean, quick and emotionless. But real death is not that way. A fellow human being died on Dec, 30th and I was reminded that death is not a pretty thing. I believe that Saddam will spend eternity in Hell. If I cared so little about my fellow man that I was unaffected seeing him go to eternal punishment, I could not claim to care about the souls of my fellow man. It did bother me and for that I am thankful, I am still capable of feeling concern for the lost and their sinful condition.

On the other hand, I also came to the conclusion that while I felt a discomfort at the death of this man, it also reinforced my belief that justice was served. Think of all the families, lives and homes that this murderous thug destroyed. To see him hanging by the neck, swinging on the end of a rope, should be a reminder that the "wages of sin is death". A man who deprived countless people of life, twisting on the end of a noose, earning the wages of the work he had done.

I have gotten over my feelings of discomfort, I'm looking at the death of Saddam Hussein from the proper perspective again, God demands justice be done, and it was. I am once again looking at this from God's viewpoint. I can not allow my emotions to cloud the fact that God wants man to take human life very seriously. That God wants those who disreguard his Law and murder mankind, (man created in His image) to pay with their own life. But I have been reminded also that all men are sinners, that all of us face a judgement day, and that save "the Blood of Jesus Christ, his son,which cleanseth us from all our sin" I would deserve the same fate as Saddam. Maybe not on the end of a rope, but eternal separation from God, a fate far to serious to take lightly.