I didn’t follow the Casey Anthony case closely enough to offer any meaningful opinions about guilt or innocence.
But one of my goals with Unpacking Forgiveness was to consider situations when the wounds are deep and justice seems far away. When a case such as this is so much in the center of public awareness, it is critical that Christians interact responsibly with it and take the opportunity to point people to the Cross. To that end, I offer some basic principles regarding how we ought to respond.
- Trust God for Justice – Romans 12:19 (quoting the OT) explicitly tells us that vengeance belongs to God. No one is getting away with anything. I take no pleasure in writing that there will be a Hell of a reckoning one way or another very soon. No appeals. No evidence hearings. No shenanigans. God who sees all perfectly will deal justly in the timing that it pleases Him. (By the way, this is one of the reasons why this discussion Frances Chan, Rob Bell, and Hell is so critical, see also Mike Wittmer’s excellent book).
- Be confident that God loves little girls infinitely and eternally more than any of us. Again, justice will be served. [Update: I wrote this ambiguously – – I mean that God loves little girls more than we love little girls – – – not that God loves little girls more than, say, little boys.]
- Take no revenge. Scripture repeatedly warns us against taking revenge, again see Romans 12:19. You may let yourself off the hook by saying, “There is no possibility of me taking revenge on Casey Anthony,” to which I would respond, “Don’t you think that some of the people writing about Casey Anthony are taking revenge? It would seem that some are trying to pay Casey Anthony back if no other way than through Tweets. Or is it just my imagination?”
- Honor our court system. Some who watched the trial and believe that Casey Anthony was guilty may be tempted to be very cynical about our court system. Never the less, Romans 13:1-7 tells us to pay honor to our government recognizing that God is sovereign. Like Joseph, we can say that whatever harm may have been intended, God will work it together for good for his people (Genesis 45:5-7, Romans 8:28). The government is only a tool in God’s sovereign hand, however mysterious it may seem that God allows injustice in the short run.
- Point people to the Cross. Situations like this are the opportunity for Christians to point to a balanced view of forgiveness that stresses love, justice, and grace. Casey Anthony is not the only one who will stand before her Creator. We are all sinners, and we will all be there. If we don’t know Christ, then the wrath of God abides on us (John 3:36).
- Examine yourself. If you find yourself feeling terribly ungracious towards Casey Anthony, then perhaps it is because you haven’t been thinking enough about God’s grace in your life. Indeed, this is what happened with the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Do you get more energized about the sin or perceived sin of someone else or your own? Consider 2 Corinthians 13:5.
- Don’t trivialize forgiveness and misrepresent it by saying silly things like, “We all need to forgive Casey Anthony. Christians have so often said cheap things about forgiveness in contexts like this. We need to point people to the Cross, not say something like, “We just all need to forgive Casey.” Lots more to say about this, but I won’t try and re-write my book in a post – – though you could take the forgiveness quiz to get some flavor of the discussion. The answers to the forgiveness question are here.
What else would you add?