A Courteous Contrararian

First Let’s Kill All The Liars

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - May• 15•15

The title of this post is a play on a line from Shakespeare’s King Lear. First let’s kill all the lawyers. Perhaps I shouldn’t start by joking because I want to talk about a very sad story.

Yesterday I read about a grandmother who was sentenced to life in prison for killing her granddaughter, and the story has haunted me. She had found out that the little girl lied about stealing some candy from a friend and made her run as punishment. She ran the girl, back and forth in front of their house for hours, threatening worse punishment every time the nine year-old wanted to stop. A neighbor finally intervened when the girl collapsed and even then her grandma was threatening worse punishment unless she got back up and resumed running. At that point the girl was finally taken to a hospital where she later died.

I mourn the loss. I’m sure you do too. The punishment was far worse than the crime, and that’s the horror, the terrible injustice. I wonder if the grandmother feels the weight of it now, if she’s horrified by her own actions.  Her attorney said she handled the court proceedings “like a Christian woman,” whatever that means but that Christian women still claims the granddaughter wasn’t punished for lying or stealing; Grandma was training her to make her run faster because she had finished second in a race at school. Since the girl’s punishment happened immediately after the school bus driver reported the theft to the grandma, her defense appears nonsensical, a lie.  Using the grandmother’s own standards, doesn’t that mean she should be run to death herself? I would hope you answer would be in the negative; if we killed the grandma for lying we would be as much a monster as she was.

I am far more concerned about the granddaughter’s death than the the grandmother’s life sentence. Because, according to our theology, unless the granddaughter had accepted Christ as Savior she is now burning in the pit of Hell. Her life was so short, and probably miserable if her grandma and stepmother always treated her so severely, and now she has to spend eternity in Hell. Does that seem just?

You might counter that she was only nine; she hadn’t reached the “age of accountability.” But we have biblical evidence that nine year olds have reached that age, if there is any such thing. One of the last kings of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord at eight years old.

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. [2 Chronicles 36:9 NASB] This verse is so disturbing that many translations, like the NIV, change the eight to eighteen. The earliest manuscripts say eight. The predominance of the manuscripts say eight. I imagine some scribe deciding that was wrong, taking it upon himself to make better sense of the verse and so changing it to eighteen. But translators are supposed to translate the best available data, not what fits their own thoughts about justice.

If an eight year-old can do evil according to the Lord, I imagine a nine year-old would not be exempt. Did she do evil? She stole and she lied. That makes her a liar and a thief.

Isn’t that the rhetorical gambit many of us learned to use when witnessing; to show people they are indeed sinners? “Have you ever stolen something, maybe a pen from work? That makes you a thief, a sinner. Sinners, according to the Bible, deserve to go to Hell unless Jesus covers their sin with his blood. Because even one sin is too much to allow us to come into the presence of a Holy God.”

So here’s the question: If the grandma was a monster because she killed her granddaughter for lying, wouldn’t that make God a greater monster for then condemning the little girl to eternal torment?


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  1. Jim Mueller says:

    Hi Jon

    I was introduced to you by a friend Dave (Laura); I’m with them at Discovery Church. I like what you’re doing.


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