VANDAL SHOCK: Parishioner questions church's forgiveness
A CHURCH-goer was shocked when he heard his place of prayer was horrifically vandalised last week, but what surprised him more was his pastor's message for the culprits.
In a Letter to the Editor submitted to the NewsMail, John Williams said he was taken aback by a written handout at St John's Lutheran Church on Sunday addressing the foul vandalism that had been painted on the church's walls.
Locals passing by the church on January 9 found offensive statements such as "f--k God" scrawled across the building, as well as other phrases like "life is a prison".
Mr Williams said Sunday's message read "God's heart breaks for that individual(s). Our heart breaks too. Our prayer is that the individual(s) will be set free from the "prison" he/she finds themselves in".
He said the message led him to question the church's understanding of the term "as we forgive them that trespass against us".
"Such statement by the church asks God to break the law of the land and 'release the person from prison' highlights the fact that the church is confused as to the true meaning of the sentence in the Lord's Prayer," he said.
"I do not believe that God meant that we should forgive all crime committed against us, no matter how many times it is committed, nor did he mean that we should shut down our courthouses and prisons so we can forgive all those that commit a crime against us.
"I believe that the Lord's Prayer, along with other confusing items in the Bible, should be rewritten to clearly present their true meaning, or removed from the Bible because of their negative effect on dwindling church attendance.
"Take out all the confusion and you will see the church reborn."
Lead Pastor Wayne George told the NewsMail last Wednesday there were no hard feelings against the vandal, and a sign outside the church has since been changed to "God still loves you, so do we".
"Somebody says 'life is a prison' so they obviously feel trapped," Mr George said at the time of the incident.
"It's disappointing to know there are people who are struggling out there and they see this as a means of venting and getting it out.
"The reason we're here as a church is to serve our community, love our community and to bring light to darkness, not the other way around."