A Letter to the Sniper

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

To the Sniper,

I write as a pastor concerned for your soul and for the lives of your victims. I base what I say on the Bible, God’s word. I think this is what Jesus Christ would want you to read. May he use his awesome authority and power to put it in your hands and give you ears to hear.

1. You have two seconds to turn yourself in to God. "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14). You – like all of us – are a vapor’s breath. It appears on a cold, fall morning and then is gone. It lasts about two seconds. That is all you have.

2.You are despising your mother. "A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother" (Proverbs 15:20). Yes, you are acting like a foolish man. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice" (Proverbs 12:15). But not you.

3. Your target is the image of God. "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). "With the tongue we curse people who are made in the likeness of God . . . . These things ought not to be so" (James 3:9-10). How much worse to kill God’s image on earth.

4. Your blood will flow by the hand of this image-bearing man. "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Genesis 9:6).

5. Your foot will slip. "Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly" (Deuteronomy 32:35).

6. The God you assault gives you breath. "God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:25).

7. Every breath you take is an offer of mercy. "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4).

8. Do not despair, repentance is a free gift to the unworthy. "God may perhaps give them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:25-26). Ask God for it and do it.

9. Christ died for people like you, not good people. "While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

10. Jesus Christ came to save snipers. He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32).

11. You have no righteousness; but Christ would give you his. "For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

12. The way to receive this righteousness is by faith in Christ, nothing else. You can "be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of your own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:9). Trusting Christ is your only hope.

13. If you trust Christ as the Savior of your soul and the Treasure of your life, the root of sin will be severed. "God cleansed their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:9). "Faith works through love" (Galatians 5:6). You will slay no more. You will weep for your victims. You will turn yourself in. You will accept, if necessary, the sentence of death. And you will hear Jesus say, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

With hope, a messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ,

John Piper