Tuesday evening, in Huntsville, Texas, Karla Faye Tucker was executed by lethal injection for the crime of first-degree murder. The media attention this case received once more renews a focus on capital punishment.
Ms. Tucker was an attractive woman who said she had undergone a religious conversion. Many felt her to be sincere. She professed regret for the brutal murders she had committed under the influence of drugs. According to witnesses at her execution, even as she was strapped to the gurney she apologized to the relatives of her victims, expressed love to those around her, and was convinced she was soon to come face to face with Jesus Christ.
If she had experienced a spiritual rebirth, then she already had come face to face with the Christ, Truth. The Christ, which was so fully expressed in the spirituality and humanity of Jesus, is divine. It is the redemptive grace that comes to every receptive heart that is willing and ready to be redeemed from sin and made whole.
The textbook of Christian Science explains: "The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life;' 'I and my Father are one.' This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him. Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 26).
All of us have always been one with God. Many have not yet begun to realize that fact. Death, however, can never bring you or anyone closer to God. Neither can death take away Life. God is Life, as the Bible clearly reveals. God is not the life of a sinning, mortal personality; He is the Life of all that reflects Him. His sons and daughters are His spiritual reflection, and therefore are sinless and pure. And this is the true identity of everyone.
The spirit of God that Tucker apparently grew to express was never condemned to die, never confined in a prison cell, and certainly never executed. It appears that she had begun to realize something of her real, spiritual identity, which has always been "hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3), and has never been confused or altered by the claim that God created man a sinner. That is the lie of life that humankind has wrestled with for centuries.
The belief that any child of God is a sinning mortal is what is condemned to die. No stay of execution or act of clemency can stop the certain death that must come to such belief, because, once again, God never created us to sin.
Tucker most likely knew this statement from the Bible: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Cor. 15:22). The life we begin to find in Christ is eternal, and we find it can never be taken from us. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death" (John 8:51).
The fact is that we have all eternity to grow in grace - Karla Faye included - because nothing can stop our spiritual progress. Becoming conscious of God and of real existence as in God, we partake of Life. "Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof" (Science and Health, Pg. 246).
The repentant human spirit can be a grand thing. Those who recognize that life, being of God, is spiritual and is not something that originates in matter or that is ours to take away, have recognized a profound truth. Outgrowing the need for resentment and revenge - for "an eye for an eye," for "getting even" - society will not be found condoning lawlessness or insulting the victims of heinous crime. Letting the law of Love, the law of Life, reign can only bless everyone. The spirit of Life simultaneously brings redemption to sinning humanity, and comfort and healing to suffering humanity.
We can successfully pray that the light of Christ may come into every heart this very day. That it shine in prisons and in every human consciousness, awakening us to the universal need of spiritual redemption. We can pray that the love of God motivate increasingly the actions of all mankind.