I am a Christian with a serious eating disorder. You wouldn't know by looking at me, because I am a "normal" size, but since childhood I have been addicted to sugar and given to frequent junk food binges, which result in debilitating blood sugar levels akin to drunkenness. With a background in science and nutrition, I ought to know better. As a Christian, I really ought to know better. Which is precisely why I shudder when I read of the fate of Mr. Arrazola, and recognize that, "But for the grace of God, there go I."
In our society, Mr. Arrazola's sin is illegal; mine is not. Mr. Arrazola's sin kills people; mine "merely" robs those around me of a functional wife, mother and friend. His will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in corrections; mine merely steals a few hundred dollars of resources each year that could have gone to feed a poor family. Mine is done in secret; his is on public display.
Yet, big or small, culturally acceptable or politically incorrect, they're both sin and need to be reconciled by God and by the community. But how? Mr. Arrazola, who killed three innocent people, claims, "I'm a good man. I help people." In light of the suffering of David and Alexandria Goddard, Mr. Arrazola appears to be a Walking Contradiction. But, in all honesty, no more so than I am.
So, how do I respond to the injustice Mr. Arrazola has done to our community without being a hypocrite myself? If I look to the One who "died for us while we were yet sinners," who willingly gave his perfect life to pay for my (and Mr. Arrazola's) rotten, stinking sin -- the "Ultimate Contradiction" -- I believe I will find my answer. Every year, for as long as Mr. Arrazola is in prison, I will put aside a few dollars (which I otherwise would have spent on junk food) into an account and send the money to Mr. Arrazola's family. I will do this in the name of the One who told me to "love my enemies" and "bless those who persecute me." For both justice and mercy must be rendered. Justice will be paid by Mr. Arrazola in this lifetime. But as for mercy? I know what I must do. And I wonder if perhaps we, as a community, are being given an opportunity to corporately send a powerful message of grace which will melt hearts and change lives. Perhaps those of us who claim to be "Christ's hands and feet here on earth" will even care to join me in this seeming contradiction, and extend a few dollars worth of grace to Mr. Arrazola, just like our Savior did for us.
Valeri Marsh, Payson