It’s happened more times than I can count. A crime occurs, people die, and those on the outside looking in offer prayers to the victims. They also offer prayers for the families of victims. These people should be commended. Prayer does work. It brings us together. It comforts us. In short, knee mail is better than email on any day of the week. So why then do we not offer prayers for the friends and family of the guilty?
Think about it. When is the last time you watched the news after something horrible happened and heard people offer thoughts and prayers to everyone affected? I’m going to assume your answer is somewhere along the lines of “rarely, if ever.” I cannot come up with an answer, and I’ve been in broadcast news for 16 years now! Why though? Why is it that we fail to pray for everybody impacted by a crime? Do we automatically assume the parents of the guilty are to blame? Even if they are, there is bound to be an aunt, a sibling, a cousin that is innocent and now has to live with the fact that their relative did something horrible. That cannot be easy, especially if people know you are related to the perpetrator.
In the hours immediately following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I posted a message on Facebook urging people to pray for the kids, their parents, faculty, etc. I went on to say that I thought it a good idea to pray for the shooter’s family. This was before we learned the shooter was Adam Lanza. Nonetheless, someone rejected my request, saying he hoped the people responsible burn in hell.
Let me pause here and mention that we all deserve hell. We are all fallen individuals in need of a Savior*. When we forget this, we overlook other things in scripture such as faith, hope, and charity or love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Let’s be faithful and pray for everyone affected by a crime, and I mean everyone. Let’s hope that all find comfort. It is the charitable or loving thing to do.
*Psalm 51:5, Isaiah 53:6, Proverbs 14:12, Isaiah 64:5-6, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:4-6, Hebrews 10:14, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 53:5-6, Psalm 16:10, Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, John 3:16-17, 14:6)