Moussaoui, the only convicted conspirator of the 9/11 attacks, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. The jury had two choices for Moussaoui: life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. There are many that would argue that if ever there was a person who should receive capital punishment, a 9/11 conspirator would be that person. I'm not one of them. I'm glad the jury did not condemn Moussaoui to death. For days to come the motivations of the jury will be analyzed and critiqued. My concern isn't with their motivations; rather that for once we were merciful where we could have been vengeful.
I aspire to live to high standards of grace, mercy, hope, and love. The kind of standards that mimic God's acts of grace, mercy, hope, and love. Though I fail at those standards almost daily, I find nothing wrong with aiming and striving for them. Many might say that an "eye for an eye" sounds fair and is even biblical. Indeed there was a time in my life that I made that argument. However, what many don't know is that at the time an "eye for an eye" was decreed is was a merciful standard. The common practice at that time was that if a member of an opposing tribe wronged or harmed a member of your tribe, then your tribe would completely obliterate the opposing tribe: men, women, and children. To limit retribution to an "eye for an eye" was merciful by the standards of the day.
I would like to think that we have grown some in the millennia since those days. I would like to think that Christ's decree to love our enemies is a new standard, a new commandment that is starting to gain traction with us humans. The Moussaoui verdict gives me hope that maybe...just maybe we are growing.