Colorado Gunman's Pleas From His Letter

In news on March 13, 2008 at 7:58 am

The Associated Press is running a story today with the details of a handwritten letter found in the car of the Colorado gunman who killed 4 people in Dec. 2007. I can’t seem to find a copy of the whole letter but the bits and pieces found in the article are difficult to read: “Jesus, where are you? Do you even care these days?”, “What have I done so wrong? What is wrong with me anyways? Am I really such a bad person?”, and the most telling “Am I too lost to be saved? My soul cries for deliverance. I’m dieing (sic), praying, bleeding and screaming. Will I be denied???”.

How many millions have these same thoughts?

I wonder though, if someone were to share similar thoughts with you as a reason they didn’t believe, what would you say to them?  It would be great to get some discussion going on this topic so maybe I can start off with a few things.

  • Am I too lost to be saved? Two Scripture passages come to mind, Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” and Luke 23:39-43 where the thief condemned on the cross cries out to Jesus and Jesus assures him he would join him in heaven. One passage gives clear teaching that Christ died for unworthy sinners, not somewhat worthy sinners or sinners with a little bit of good in them. There is no distinction here, it says that Christ died for those who needed salvation the most. The other passage gives an example of a man who was so lost in his sins that he was sent to his death but yet Jesus still assures him that his sins will be forgiven. The condemned sinner has no chance to prove his salvation by living a good life afterwards, he died in a few hours.
  • Will I be denied? Romans 10:13 (quoting Joel 2:32) “for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved'”. This is pretty clear teaching that God will deny no one who calls on him for salvation. I think we need to be careful here though, Jesus talks about people who try and get in through a back door by believing in Jesus but still attempting to work their way into heaven by their good works in Matthew 7:21-23. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9), it is not of man’s good works.
  • What have I done so wrong? Again, Romans 1:23 says we all have exchanged the glory of God for an idol. We have all traded what is infinitely valuable for what is worthless. Everyone has done this, everyone has sinned against God. It is important to talk about our sinful nature and not our individual sins though. People easily get hung up on a one-time sin they did a long time ago, or they are caught up in a repetitive habit of the same sin over and over and can’t get past this. But, it’s not like God overlooks all the other smaller dirt and just focuses on the mud pile so that if you could just find forgiveness for the one big sin everything would be ok. All of these sins we commit are the evidence of our sinful nature, our bent towards doing the opposite of what we know to be the right thing to do. We need salvation from our sinful selves and Christ promises to forgive all sins.

Now it’s your turn, would you say things differently? What else would you say? The gunman also asked, Why couldn’t you write your (expletive) book more clearly?” What would you say to that?

  1. A couple of comments.
    First, I agree with you, these comments/questions are certainly chilling. I really don’t think this young man was looking for intellectual answers, though. I think what he was really looking for was a living demonstration of real Godly love.
    As to the question of why the Bible isn’t written “more clearly”, I’ve gone around the block on this one a few times myself. Here’s the conclusion that I’ve come to – see what you think: The Bible isn’t written unclearly; it’s written abstractly. That is, it doesn’t try to deal with every concrete situation you could possibly find yourself in, because that would be impossible. Rather, it deals with principles that will apply in any situation, and relies on the work of the Holy Spirit to convict you on the specific situation you’re in.

  2. True, I don’t think he was looking for answers at the time, but certainly somewhere along the way he was steered in the wrong direction. Somewhere along the way, he began asking these questions and never had them answered. December was his tipping point where he finally bought into the lie, but I think these questions were on his mind for years before then. The thing I was really trying to get at was, when we’re told to have a ready defense for the reason of the hope that is in us, this may not always be someone looking to discuss apologetics with us, it may be someone who is looking for answers and sees something different in us.

    I like your thoughts on the abstractness of the Bible. It is interesting to look on the whole narrative of the Bible and see examples for us to follow within that.

    Good to have you back Andrew, congratulations to you and your new bride!

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