Bali Nine Execution: Moral Confusion, True Joy and Misunderstood Mercy

Andrew and Myuran

This morning the world woke up to this news. The execution of Andrew and Myuran. As I loosely follow the news through Facebook re-posts by my friends, I get two sides of morality. One camp is disgusted and condemn them to die. “Once a druggy always a druggy. The scum of the universe.” On the other side people are demanding for mercy saying, “They are reformed, they do not deserve this.”

One particular post, here, struck a cord with me. Andrew Chan had not only been reformed outwardly, he was regenerated spiritually too. Although I am not sure about Myuran, I am now relatively sure Andrew is a fellow brother in Christ. As I try to imagine and reconstruct in my mind the events from the news articles and videos. And as I try to make sense or imagine how they are feeling, particularly Andrew right now, I get the seemingly calm and almost peaceful conduct they are displaying in their final moments. I can only pray that I have the same courage and deep joy Andrew is displaying in a similar situation.

Confused Morality
You see this divide in morality is a symptomatic of the human condition. We have no capacity to be truly pure because if sin.

“Science and reason liberate us from the shackles of superstition by offering us a framework for understanding our shared humanity. Ultimately, we all have the capacity to treasure life and enrich the world in incalculable ways.”  – Gad Saad, Professor of Marketing, Atheist.

In the case of this execution, reason and the treasure of life, unguided by pure righteousness, is tainted. Marred by sin. It becomes whatever the person’s personal outlook is. The supposed “moral compass” is guided by that persons own limited understanding and confused by their own sinfulness.

To say, “they deserve death”, the morality there is reasoning that druggies should just die and be rid off no matter how they change. Having a drug free society is reasonable basis for treasuring life. Who cares if they have changed? On the other had, to say, “they should be free” and to demand mercy means a more empathetic sense of supposed morality. You value every life even that of a druggy. He’s changed, he should be given a second chance. How would that hold true if these guys murdered your kids? Would you apply the same morality and demand mercy? Perhaps, perhaps not…

Both camps can argue morality till the cow comes home and think their right. The supposed “framework” for science and reason is still flawed by selfishness and other sins. Ultimately, without a true “compass”, a truly righteous God and the truly righteous saviour we, by ourselves, have no capacity whatsoever to be judge of people and of the situation.

True Joy
Yes, I read their story and I am saddened by the impending death of a fellow brother of the family of Christ. This, by all my versions of logic, makes no sense. They’ve changed, give them a chance. But yet at the same time I understand why Andrew seems to be so calm about it. He has a joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding. He has his assurance in one person. Our Lord Jesus Christ. He knows exactly where he’s going and he knows exactly how he’ll get there.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7, ESV

If anything, we can rejoice with Andrew (again, I’m not sure about Myuran’s faith). We can celebrate his coming into the Lord’s kingdom and knowing the peace of God. Which leads me to my third and final point…

Understanding Mercy
I’ve explained that morality apart from knowing Jesus is unreliable. We can use sinful logic to reason ourselves out of anything. So does it make sense then to “demand mercy”? If you put God into the picture. The God of Andrew and the God that him and I worship. Then this is really a moot point. They don’t really need your moral judgement on them. They don’t really need your demands of mercy by the Indonesian government. Because the ultimate judge and the one they ultimately require mercy from has already passed the judgement and shown the mercy. Through Jesus Christ, Andrew was made clean. He was judged and found not guilty because of the blood of Jesus.

Of course, I am not down playing the earthly hope that one can have to help extend their lives. But I believe another of the reason why Andrew can be at peace is because he understands this fact. He was spared eternal death. And that is enough right now. To be spared physical death would be great too, but that’s probably why the prison guard said in the interview “they are ready”. He knows Jesus is enough. Divine mercy was already given.

I’m writing this post to think these things through in my mind. But I also hope to encourage any fellow Christians that are trying to make sense of this. Zoom out and look at the cosmic scale of this and thank God for his sovereign hand in this. Andrew was saved. It is unfortunate that Andrew’s tailored salvation plan had to be through drugs, prison and death. But God knew this was Andrews way to come to know Him. God also used him and his testimony in the prison for his purposes. See the beauty in that and pray that his friends and relatives do too and continue to look to God as their ultimate assurance the way Andrew did and showed.

“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:16-17, ESV

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