Humble Forgivevness

I posted an article today on my other blog that tells the story of the pastor that baptized and visited Jeffrey Dahmer in jail before he was executed. This pastor wrote a book titled Dark Journey, Deep Grace that is about Dahmer and asks this question on the book's cover: "Can God Forgive Even Jeffrey Dahmer?" The question reminded me of this story that Jesus told:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'

"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' "I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14)
Forgiveness is acquired by humbling ourselves ... often we get it when we don't even know what we are doing ... we are just beating our breast in repentance ... throwing ourselves on the mercy of God. Religious people like this Pharisee often lose sight of this ... lose sight of people like Dahmer who desperately need forgiveness ... and sometimes we shy away from people in prison.

I am thankful for Roy Ratcliff, minister of the Mandrake Road Church of Christ in Madison Wisconsin, who looked on this serial killer and helped him beat his breast and repent. I am glad that he could get past his preconceived ideas about Jeffrey Dahmer and share Jesus with him in friendship. It is what life is all about - sharing Jesus and making new friends.


  1. That is an amazing article; I'd be curious to read the entire book and find out more. I left this comment on the other blog: "I could add [to other comments that had been posted] that his willingness to carry out his mission as a minister -- knowing that the public would have mixed feelings at best if they found out -- took an incredible amount of courage. He may still be struggling with the entire process, but if it wasn't ordained by God then it wouldn't have met Dahmer to begin with."

  2. Jesus covers all sin--what a concept!
    If I thought that Jeffrey Dahmer was beyond the grace of God, why would I believe in Him at all?

  3. I thank God as well for Roy Ratcliff sharing the Gospel with Jeffrey Dahmer. I also thank God that He is in charge of salvation, not us. (I suspect I would be less forgiving.)


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