Fifty-three year old Ariel Castro had been convicted of severely abusing three women as hostages for over a decade. Found guilty and to serve the rest of his time in prison, Castro recently took his own life.
His crimes are atrocious to the extent that much of society breathed a sigh of “good riddance”.
But, not so fast.
We have such a knack of underlooking (thoroughly inspecting a car upon a rack) another’s blatant sins while overlooking our own. We seem to look at another with the comment of “how awful”.
If I understand Hebrews 2:14-18 correctly, Jesus was devotedly attentive to Ariel Castro to the extent he would be pre-executed for his sins. I believe the Bible says (Hebrews 4:14-16) that Jesus was sympathetic.
Such perspective does not condone sin. Rather, it empathizes with the sinner.
Jesus saves is not a banner for church lawns. It is the hope of the lost; Ariel Castro and me.
In no way am I supportive of Castro’s sinful actions. Excuses don’t belong.
Yet, I must ask us to probe important matters. Who neglected him in school? A teacher in third grade? A volunteer coach? A bus driver? An Aunt? Dad?
This man arose from the dust of handed-down-since-Adam sin. On his own he chose to be the man he was; but he also had incredible and distinctive influence which abounded from The Garden. We must, I believe, drop our churchy inclination to bemoan such a behavior when we unconsciously dismiss our own neglectfulness.
It is very possible we may be neglecting the little boy who lives across the street. I would remind us to see him as more than a little one who pedals his tricycle up and down our sidewalks. He will grow up to partake in a future community. We can make a difference today for his neighborhood of tomorrow.
I desire to awaken us to the active world around us. Before Ariel Castro reached the sad fate of his last evening, he was once a toddler and then a little boy, and then a young man. It matters that people like him (us) be noticed and drawn into the loveliness of Jesus.
Reach, my friends. Reach now. Church attendance drives, VBSs, Back to School Blasts; all have the potential of taking future Ariel Castro’s into an entirely rerouted direction.
Everybody counts. Everyone matters. There are no exceptions.
Little children grow up to be big people who suffer from the quagmire of sin. They need not our criticism; but our sympathy. And like Jesus, sympathy has an outstretched arm.