For many, the discussion of the death penalty is a touchy one. When we say that murderers should face the death penalty, many want to point to the Sixth Commandment. But, we have to understand from the outset that the Sixth Commandment deals with the unlawful taking of human life. The death penalty, on the other hand, has to do with the glory and honor of God. When one takes another’s life, they have first and foremost made a full assault on the image and glory of God (Gen. 1:26-27).
There are some who wish to displace the command of God by claiming grace. What this would essentially mean is that we should overlook the crime of the murderer because they repent. However, we have to ask if we do that, what of their victim and what of their affront to God? This is the issue that must be addressed with Kelly Gissendaner.
Christian Headline reports
Christians across the country have united in prayer for Kelly Gissendaner, a death row inmate and graduate of Crossroad prison ministry. Charisma News reports that Gissendaner has had her execution postponed twice; faith leaders and Christians are now campaigning to release her from death row permanently.
What is at issue is the question of the law and what justice is. You see, Mrs. Gissendaner has been convicted of conspiring to commit murder.
Christian Headlines further reports:
Gissendaner was convicted of persuading her boyfriend to kill her husband in 1998. While her boyfriend accepted a plea deal and is serving a life sentence, Gissendaner was advised by her counsel not to accept a plea bargain. She was then issued a death sentence.
According to Charisma, Gissendaner attended Crossroad from 2007 to 2010 and became a changed woman, both spiritually and personally. She is known as “Mama Kelly” to many inmates, as she has become a mother figure who encourages good behavior in others.
Now, do not misunderstand. I am grateful to God for showing Kelly mercy. As a Christian, I fully believe that we are to love mercy. And I recognize the fact that God does not explicitly condemn to death those who conspire to commit murder, but do not take an active role in the murder.
There are places that point us to the guilt of such people. When we read in Proverbs 1:11-19, Solomon tells his son to not conspire with the evil to shed blood. He concludes his instructions with these words. “It takes away the life of its possessors.” How? Is it not that the normal means of God dealing with murderers of this type is through the minister of God who holds the sword (Rom. 13:1-5)?
There is another issue that must be seen here.
At the time of her husband’s murder, she was an adulteress. Now, what I am about to write is going to anger some, but I hope they will hear me out before they blow up the comments. Adultery, like murder, is a capital crime in God’s accounting of justice (Lev. 20:10-21). The reason, according to R J Rushdoony, was because adultery is the murder of the family. And this points to the possible working out of God’s justice.
Is it possible that Gissendaner is facing this penalty as well, and that God is allowing this woman to face the penalty for her crime of adultery? It is within the realm of possibility that God, through His Providence, would cause Kelly to face the penalty for one crime through the punishment of another.
We must never seek to speak unjustly of God’s standard, no matter the case. God said:
You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. -Deuteronomy 16:19
If we are to be righteous, then we have to turn to God’s righteous standard for justice. Earthly justice has nothing to do with eternal life. We have to remember that we tread on dangerous ground when we stray from the standard of justice given us by God. It is God, and God only, who has determined and revealed to us sin and crime. It is also only God who can tell us what just punishments are for those crimes. When we stray, then we wind up with cruelty, brutality and injustice.
Solomon said “. . . even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”
Though we rejoice that Kelly has repented, God’s Word cannot be denied. To pray for her life to be spared is to pray for God’s justice to be thwarted.