Is there anybody you would like to throw in the trash?
Before you get angry at such an insulting suggestion, consider Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Monster. Dahmer murdered and dismembered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He kept – and ate – some of the body parts.
Does that disgust you? May I assume that you wouldn’t invite Dahmer to dinner at your house? We find some people, because of their behavior, to be repulsive.
So does God. Jesus told a parable about fishermen who cast their net into the sea. After pulling up a catch of “all kinds of fish,” they “collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away” (Matthew 13:48). Jesus says this is what God’s kingdom is like. “At the end of the age, the angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace” (vv. 49-50). The bad would get discarded,
We are tempted to see everyone as righteous – especially ourselves. We grow accustomed to our “crimes” because they are common. We compare our sins to those of someone like Dahmer and feel better. But God says, “there is no one righteous” (Romans 3:10).
We imagine ourselves to be good, but we aren’t really. That I’m a different kind of bad from Dahmer doesn’t make me less of a bad fish. I still deserve to be thrown away.
There is, however, good news. I can be rescued. And, you can, too. There is “righteousness from God [that] comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
Jeffrey Dahmer came to believe that and accepted that righteousness. He was by baptized in the prison whirlpool by Roy Ratcliff, a minister in the Church of Christ.
The day comes when God must take out the trash. We all deserved to be discarded. But we have all been offered redemption.