Jeffrey Dahmer may very well go down in history as one of the most perverted and wicked serial killers in America. A confessed sexual predator, he abducted, raped, tortured, murdered and cannibalized his many young victims.
When looking for a picture of evil personified, some might settle on a picture of Jeffrey Dahmer. However, I want you to picture Jeffery Dahmer differently. I want you to picture him in the arms of Jesus.
"Impossible!" you shout at me. "This guy is right up there with Hitler and Pol Pot! If anyone is deserving of Hell, it’s him!”
Well, I would like to tell you a true story about Jeffrey Dahmer that perhaps you have not heard before.
A woman named Mary Mott saw Jeffrey on a TV show discussing his need for inner peace. Mott mailed a series of Bible lessons to Dahmer, which he completed and mailed back. Included among the Bible lessons was a note that the convicted serial killer had written. In that note, he thanked Mrs. Mott and expressed a strong desire to become a Christian.
A pastor by the name of Roy Ratcliff went to the prison and visited with Dahmer. Jeffrey confessed his many sins and was baptized on May 10, 1994. He continued to study the Bible every week in prison until the day of his murder six months later. One TV report, just two weeks prior to Dahmer’s murder, quoted him as saying that he was at peace with himself and with God.
Sadly, I have found that there are people who actually hate stories like this. They want to believe that Jeffrey Dahmer, and those like him, are beyond the work of Christ in their lives (or undeserving of the work of Christ in their lives.) I must admit, I once had those very same feelings. I feel differently now. Today when I hear such stories, I don’t feel anger at the thought of God forgiving such wicked people who deserve far worse than they are getting.
Instead of anger, I feel relief!
Why? Because whenever I start pointing my finger at the sins of others, God has a way of turning my finger around and sticking it right into my chest. With that finger boring into my heart, I hear a firm whisper in my ear, “What about you, Mark? What about your total lack of patience? What about losing your temper much too quickly? What about how you treat your wife and son sometimes? What about all those images that fill your mind in idle moments? What makes you think you deserve better?”
It is at times like those that I am brought again to a truth that we all like to avoid--there is evil in all of us. Oh, we may like to compare our evil to the evil of the Dahmer’s of the world to make us feel better, but the fact is that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Without question, all of us have succumbed to the desires of our sinful nature and to the temptations of Satan.
Maybe it’s anger, or lying, or greed, or lust, or materialism, or worry, or gossip, or stealing, or cursing, or laziness, or any of a thousand things. Odds are you have been dealing with one or more for so long that you have given up hope that it can ever be dealt with.
Well, let me give you some hope. If Christ has the power to break the evil in Dahmer, then He has the power to break the evil that holds you.
I pray that you grasp this truth as we work our way through the next few blog posts.