I Don’t Want To Want The Death Penalty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death.

James Holmes – looks likely the same will happen to him.

I’m so confused.

The Christian values I hold so dear, the words of Jesus I want to live by, everything I know in my head but can’t get to my heart tells me these men need forgiveness. Death isn’t the answer.

I’m not at the point of believing this yet.  I mourn for these victims. I mourn for their families. I want justice. In my mind, this means death.

It’s so ironic. I’m on the liberal end of the political spectrum on so many issues, yet I have not found the compassion needed for those who have taken the lives of so many.

Nature of a Servant Jeanne Bishop

Jeanne Bishop, public defender and author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer, spoke with me on the radio a few weeks ago. Her words ripped apart my insides.

David Biro killed Jeanne’s sister, her sister’s husband, and their unborn child. The murder was deliberate and cold-blooded. Today, Jeanne visits Biro in prison and fights against the death penalty. I read the book and was in a state of “WTF” the whole time. (Yes. I swore.)

Jeanne may be the most mild mannered, conscientious, comforting person I’ve interviewed thus far. She understood my confusion and my hard heartedness. However, no story of rape, murder, or hideousness will sway her of the notion the unconditional love of Jesus isn’t for everyone.

Which it is.

Even Boston Marathon Bombers and Aurora Theater Shooters. And that makes me want to vomit.

But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

I want this ability to forgive in my heart – it would be less of a poison for sure. I’m not there yet. Which is why I need to depend on people like Jeanne to forgive for me.

If you are against the death penalty, I ask you to forgive for me as well. And maybe pray I get to the same point someday soon.

Listen to Jeanne Bishop’s wisdom during our interview on this podcast.  How do her words affect you?


  1. says

    I want to believe in the death penalty because some crimes are so heinous, but I can’t….

    I realize how confusing it is and think nobody should be judged for believing or not believing.

    That said I think a life sentence no chance of parole and being thrown into the general prison population is a harsher sentence. My disbelief allows me to think that the prison population will accomplish what I don’t believe in. I realize how horrible and strange that is.

    • Andee says

      Pia, I agree with you – sometimes. That’s my problem. I’m so wishy washy with this. The book, Change of Heart, is really helping me understand true forgiveness.

  2. says

    Hi Andee! Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I think it is one of those issues where we have to come to our own understanding in order to arrive at a place where we are at issue with it. Unfortunately I don’t think enough people take the time to really discover why they think the way they do about many important things like this. It seems logical that people who do terrible things should be made to suffer for the pain they have caused but all that really does in the long run is to amplify the pain. It never really frees us from that pain. Only forgiveness can do that so the story of Jeanne Bishop shows how she has found her own peace and freedom in that way. I’m not sure I could do that as gracefully, but I would try because the wisdom of it resonates with me. Thanks for raising such a provocative issue for us all. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…Is Life Supposed to Be Fair?My Profile

    • Andee says

      Thanks for commenting, Kathy. And thanks for understanding as I try to figure this all out.Forgiveness seems so easy when I need it :).

  3. says

    I have been in that same place. I was a prosecutor for years, and I could never bear that image from John 8 because I was one of the people holding stones. It’s a struggle.

    • Andee says

      Mark, it’s an honor to hear from you – especially as you’ve had such an impact on Jeanne, someone who’s views are impacting mine. Of course, yours is the next book I plan to read on this subject. If I can trust anyone, it’s you and Jeanne who are in the thick of this every day.

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