Someone directed me to a video that was produced during the arraignment of James Holmes, and I am almost sorry I watched it. It upset me, for as I watched the image of that handsome young man with his bulging eyes and that ridiculous red hair, I thought of his mother and of the unspeakable pain she must be suffering.I thought of sin, of hanging by rope, or death by electric chair, or by a needle filled with poison. I thought of the victims in that theater, and evil, and devil possession. . . and sometimes in the night when I wake up, I see those blaring eyes and think of my own sinful self, my children, my friends. I consider mercy.
Today I read an article by Mike Duran in which he brought up the subject of
Jeffrey Dahmer. As you probably will remember,
“By the time he was arrested, Dahmer had already committed 17 murders. But there was more. As the story unfolded, so did a macabre tale of cannibalism and necrophilia. Mummified body parts were found throughout his apartment. There were three human heads in the refrigerator, some hands in a pot of water on the stove and three torsos liquefying in a keg of acid.”
I knew that part, and that in prison, Jeffrey Dahmer had been murdered, but Mr. Duran goes on to note that
“In a glass jar in a Wisconsin hospital, there was a brain. At first glance it looked like any other brain – soft, grey, cauliflower-like. There was no apparent damage or deformity to it, but this brain was special because it belonged to Jeffrey Dahmer.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s body was cremated, according to his wishes; his brain, however, was preserved and kept under lock and key. Serial killers are rare – their brains, more so. Maybe in this moist, messy labyrinth scientists could find the cause of, and cure for, such deviance.
So there was Jeffrey Dahmer’s brain, surrounded by quizzical onlookers, hoping to examine its contents. What would they find inside? A chemical imbalance or a birth defect? Remnants of a cowardly surrender or a great war? These questions had to wait, because not far from the hospital, there was a courtroom where another type of inquiry was beginning. Lawyers argued and lines were drawn until the gavel sounded. Jeffrey’s father had his request and thus, almost a year after his son’s death, the brain was incinerated.
So as far as we know, no one examined the brain of Jeffrey Dahmer. But as Mike Duran has reminded me today, there is within each of us–somewhere –a root of sin. It may not be visible in our brains, but all of us have it. Although we are stunned at these heinous acts, and although we who read here cannot even grasp how a human being can perform such acts, Scripture points to us all being rooted in sin. It is frightening, but honest, to consider the depraved depths to which a human may descend.
Is there derangement in the brain of James Holmes? Likely. Did such evil thoughts and actions spring from sin? Yes.
Such writing as I am doing here today is to remind us of who we actually are. It is to humble us and to cause us anew to fall on Jesus Christ, our advocate. “Me?” you ask. “Is it I?”
The answer is yes, for in Romans 3:10, Paul reminds us: ” . . .There is none righteous, no, not one:”