C.S. Lewis remarks somewhere about a pastor he knew who once saw Hitler in the flesh. Lewis asked him what he looked like.
The pastor replied, “Like all men. Like Christ.”
Shea is right: we do desperately want to believe evil and monstrous men are a different species from us. But they aren’t. They’re like us. They’re like me.
I think I’ve been struggling with this idea for quite sometime. It was never as focused or as vividly stated as in the episode above, but the general idea has been there. The question I’ve been thinking about for months now is, “What are we to do with these monsters?” I know what my gut reaction is, but I’m worried that my gut reaction might be horribly wrong and sinfully bereft of mercy. Is the answer really as simple as I want to think and hope it is? Most of the time I believe it is, but I’m also aware that these people share my humanity. Yet they are people who have been cursed with the will, opportunity, and power to commit atrocious acts against other human beings. How then are we to deal with them? How then am I to respond to them? I wish I had a black and white answer, but through my sin-scaled eyes all I see is gray.