Thursday night the hub and I binge-watched 5 of the 8 episodes of Manhunt: Unabomber.
Last night, after he returned from his weekend fly fishing trip, we watched the final three.
And though I found the whole series interesting, I was very disturbed by episode 6.
Why is it, I wonder, that I was more disturbed by the evil done to innocent minds than I was to the evil done to innocent bodies? Have I simply become numb to physical violence?
Or is it because I am so aware that, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” is so NOT true.
Or was I disturbed by episode 6 because the evil done by Dr. Ted Kaczynski was rightly reviled as evil while the evil done by Dr. Henry Murray was lauded as science?
As far as I’m concerned, both should be in prison – if Dr. Murray were still alive.
If you aren’t familiar with the unabomber’s backstory, he and his IQ of 168 enrolled in Harvard at age 16, where he volunteered to be a subject in a very unethical 3 year psych experiment. Unethical and evil.
At the end of episode 8, at Ted’s sentencing, the victims were given a chance to speak. They described the horrendous impact Ted’s actions had on them and their families and then one of them said this:
“As you start your life sentence in prison, this is what I wish for you: Given that your victims were blinded by your bombs, may you also be blinded by being deprived of the incredible light of the moon, the stars the sun, the beauty of nature for the rest of your life. Given that your victims lost their hearing because of your bombs, may you spend the rest of your days in stony silence. And given that your victims were maimed by your bombs, may your body be shackled with the same violence and hatred that have already imprisoned your mind. And given that your victims were killed by your bombs, may your own death occur as you have lived – in a solitary manner, without compassion or love.”
That last phrase especially – “without compassion or love” – made the hub and I both wince.
“That’s all so wrong,” I said, shaking my head.
The hub nodded in agreement.
We prayed this yesterday in church, we pray it often:
“Lord, in compassion, help us see beneath the surface of things to the wounds and sorrows in the hearts of those who sin against us. Deliver us from a pride which accounts them as sinful and us as righteous. We are not better than them. We are one with them at the foot of the cross. We cry out, ‘Forgive us!’ Set us free from the snares of hatred. Enable us to see our enemies as you see them from the cross, as persons you created and intended them to be, and make us instruments of their healing.
Lord, remember not the suffering the enemies of the cross have inflicted on creation and humanity; remember instead the fruits your disciples have born – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – which have grown out of the trials they inflicted, and when they come to judgment, let the fruits your persecuted ones have borne be their forgiveness. Lord, hear our prayer.”
“Let the fruits your persecuted ones have borne be their forgiveness.”
That’s all so right*.
Because the persecution Jesus has borne, and the fruits He has born, has been our forgiveness.
It is right that Ted Kaczynski remain in prison for the rest of his life, but depriving him – or anyone – of compassion and love makes us more like Ted and less like God.
It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
*even as it is so, so difficult.