According to a news source in Australia (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/bridge-throw-father-arthur-freeman-gets-years-jail/story-e6frg6nf-1226037141292), a judge found that a father who threw his four-year-old daughter off Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge was not “beyond redemption” despite murdering his four-year old daughter in this fashion. Victorian Supreme Court judge Paul Coghlan said although his actions were “horrible” there was nothing in Freeman’s past history that would make the possibility of parole inappropriate. So the sentence given to this father for this gruesome action resulted in a 30-year jail term, but not life in prison for his act.
At first the thought of this horrible action by this father completely drained me. Just because he and the child’s mother were at odds, this response in anger is totally revolting to me. Yet the piece that struck me was this phrase used by the judge in issuing his decree. This father, acting insanely foolish, without remorse or thought of consequence (his one other son observed this action) – could this despicable man be “not ‘beyond redemption?’”
A short search on Google for the phrase ‘not beyond redemption despite murder’ led to a story about an abortionist doctor (http://www.nrlc.org/news_and_views/Feb11/nv021111Part4.html) who is charged with eight counts of murder. In this story, the doctor’s clinic is said to be “beyond redemption.” What of this doctor, who was responsible for many more terminated lives than the eight for which he is being tried?
Is anyone “beyond redemption?” Could it be that after sinning 70 times 7, plus one, God has finally tired of my antics and given me over to the just results of my sinful ways, despite my pleadings that, “I’ll never do it again?” Of course, I’ll do it again, given the same circumstances and a lack of self-control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
Yet through Jesus, I am not beyond redemption. And believe it or not, as horrible an earthly sinner as anyone might be, no one is beyond Christ’s redemption. Here is the proof – Romans chapter 8:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 31b-39 NIV).
There are no words to justify the actions of a spiteful father, destroying a precious life which he helped to bring into the world. But God showed His love and faithfulness in grace to us in this: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24, NIV).
There is no one who does right (Romans 3: 10), but there is no one living who is “beyond redemption.” Oh, thank you God for this precious truth which breathes life into thirsty souls. May this truth convert the hardest of hearts, even that of a bitter father living in guilt.