Faith Underground recently did two articles with David Berkowitz, formerly the “Son of Sam,” and by God’s grace now known as the “Son of Hope.” We received an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers. Though our site is intended primarily for the edification of those of faith, we do get visitors who are not believers. We did get a few – thankfully very few – who found it hard to accept David’s profession of faith or believe that a just God would forgive the man also known as the “44 Caliber Killer” for the murders he committed.
When I told David of the many supportive comments on our Facebook page, he thanked God for the encouragement. In 33 years as a believer and in ministry, he has seen many touched by his story, and both David and I are eager to have it reach many more.
After hearing from me about those resistant to accept that God could forgive the “Son of Sam”, he “felt led to compose a response.” He believes, as we do, that this would be “an interesting and much needed piece.” His guest post follows.
– Jeremiah Nighthawk Taylor
Forgiveness for Murder by David Berkowitz
Can God forgive someone who has committed murder? I have been confronted with this question many times. So has the webmaster at AriseAndShine.org. [David’s website] And we have also encountered hostility.
I have learned that it is best not to debate with these individuals. Rather, let the Scriptures speak. After all, the Bible does have much to say about this subject. God’s word is quite clear on this.
Moses deliberately took the life of an Egyptian landowner. (Exodus 2: 11-15) The biblical account tells of Moses creeping up to the victim and, looking around to see if anyone was looking, murdering him in cold blood. He then tried to hide the body. It didn’t work. So Moses took off – a fugitive on the run, wanted for murder. Many don’t realize how deliberate his crime was, and how brutal.
And what about King David, a man after God’s own heart? The writer of countless Psalms. A champion of faith. The hero who slew Goliath. Little David who was chosen by God to be King. But this same David deliberately set up one of his generals to be killed in battle so that he could have this man’s wife.
David was a murderer and an adulterer. Yet the Lord used him in many good ways, even after he committed his heinous act. Obviously the Lord had great love for David, and He granted David forgiveness as well. (see Psalm 51)
And who could forget the evil and maniacal Saul of Tarsus? Saul was in a class by himself. Saul breathed out threats and slaughter against God’s people. (Acts 9:1) Saul was a killer of his fellow Jews who believed that Jesus – Yeshua – was the Messiah. He openly wrote that he beat both men and women in order to compel them to blaspheme the name of Jesus before putting many of them to death. (Acts 22: 3-5, and 18-19, Galatians 1:13 and 1 Timothy 1:12-15)
Moses, David and the Apostle Paul, first known as Saul, were murderers chosen by God to be His ministers and deliverers, and to be examples of His mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Can those who commit murder – or many murders – be forgiven?
What does the Bible say? Yes, they can. Christ came to save sinners, not saints. (Roman 5:8)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.