The year has only yet begun, but I believe that this is one of the year’s most powerful piece of writing. And this part was especially powerful (to me at least):
“In our early hearings. you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you.
“If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way.
“You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen this courtroom today.
“The Bible you carry says it is better for a stone to be thrown around your neck and you throw into a lake than for you to make even one child stumble. And you have damaged hundreds.
“The Bible you speak carries a final judgment where all of God’s wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you.
“I pray you experience the soul crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me — though I extend that to you as well.”
“The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receive.” No bones about it — Larry Nassar is truly a vile offender, and perhaps one of the vilest of them all — targetting innocent, vulnerable and naive little girls (159 of them!), abusing power for personal gain and obfuscating a routine physical examination with sexual assault — but if God can forgive Him, then the love of God is a bottomless abyss and there is hope for any one of us, no matter how demonstrably depraved and despicable we may be.