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Unpacking the Casey Anthony Case

By Chris Brauns (read original post)

I didn’t follow the Casey Anthony case closely enough to offer any meaningful opinions about guilt or innocence.

But one of my goals with Unpacking Forgiveness was to consider situations when the wounds are deep and justice seems far away. When a case such as this is so much in the center of public awareness, it is critical that Christians interact responsibly with it and take the opportunity to point people to the Cross. To that end, I offer some basic principles regarding how we ought  to respond.

  • Trust God for Justice – Romans 12:19 (quoting the OT) explicitly tells us that vengeance belongs to God. No one is getting away with anything. I take no pleasure in writing that there will be a Hell of a reckoning one way or another very soon. No appeals. No evidence hearings. No shenanigans. God who sees all perfectly will deal justly in the timing that it pleases Him. (By the way, this is one of the reasons why this discussion Frances Chan, Rob Bell, and Hell is so critical, see also Mike Wittmer’s excellent book).
  • Be confident that God loves little girls infinitely and eternally more than any of us. Again, justice will be served.
  • Take no revenge. Scripture repeatedly warns us against taking revenge, again see Romans 12:19. You may let yourself off the hook by saying, “There is no possibility of me taking revenge on Casey Anthony,” to which I would respond, “Don’t you think that some of the people writing about Casey Anthony are taking revenge? It would seem that some are trying to pay Casey Anthony back if no other way than through Tweets. Or is it just my imagination?”
  • Honor our court system. Some who watched the trial and believe that Casey Anthony was guilty may be tempted to be very cynical about our court system.  Never the less, Romans 13:1-7 tells us to pay honor to our government recognizing that God is sovereign. Like Joseph, we can say that whatever harm may have been intended, God will work it together for good for his people (Genesis 45:5-7, Romans 8:28). The government is only a tool in God’s sovereign hand, however mysterious it may seem that God allows injustice in the short run.
  • Point people to the Cross. Situations like this are the opportunity for Christians to point to a balanced view of forgiveness that stresses love, justice, and grace. Casey Anthony is not the only one who will stand before her Creator. We are all sinners, and we will all be there. If we don’t know Christ, then the wrath of God abides on us (John 3:36).
  • Examine yourself. If you find yourself feeling terribly ungracious towards Casey Anthony, then perhaps it is because you haven’t been thinking enough about God’s grace in your life.  Indeed, this is what happened with the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Do you get more energized about the sin or perceived sin of someone else or your own? Consider 2 Corinthians 13:5.
  • Don’t trivialize forgiveness and misrepresent it by saying silly things like, “We all need to forgive Casey Anthony. Christians have so often said cheap things about forgiveness in contexts like this. We need to point people to the Cross, not say something like, “We just all need to forgive Casey.” Lots more to say about this, but I won’t try and re-write my book in a post – though you could take the forgiveness quiz to get some flavor of the discussion. The answers to the forgiveness question are here.

What else would you add?

See also this column I wrote after the Virginia Tech murders or my article for Reformation 21, Packing Unforgiveness.

July 7, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: admin @ 8:13 am | (8) Comments »


  1. Maybe it goes without saying, but we should pray for Casey Anthony to truly repent not just of these heinous sins, but all her sin, and find mercy and forgiveness at the Cross.

    Comment by Rachael Starke — July 7, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  2. I agree that we shouldn’t judge…. but how do we know if casey was a true christian. Just because she spits out a couple verses from the bible doesn’t mean she was a christian. Even the devil knows the word of God.Jesus also told us of some of the characteristics of Satan. Christ said he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him, and that when he speaks he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
    why should we like someone killing there child????We love sinners by being faithful in witnessing to them of the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ.We love the sinner by speaking the truth in love. We hate the sin by refusing to condone, ignore, or excuse it.

    Comment by Heather — July 7, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  3. Also I feel we take “judging others” the wrong way in the bible.Christians are often accused of “judging” whenever they speak out against a sinful activity. This is not the meaning of the Scripture verses that state——– “Do not judge.” There is a righteous kind of judgment!!!When Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7:1)…. He was telling us not to judge the truth in hope—and with the ultimate goal—of bringing repentance in the other person James 5:20

    Comment by Heather — July 7, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  4. “Judge not lest ye be judged” is one of the most misunderstood verses in all of Scripture.

    Indeed, Matthew 7:1 may have surpassed John 3:16 as the most well known verse in the Bible. Even people who are not Christians quote this verse.

    To be sure, Jesus taught that there is a kind of wrong judging. If we make evaluations about people without first bringing ourselves under the same standard, then this is a serious offense (Matthew 7:1-5). In implementing Jesus’ exhortation, however, we need to be careful that we do not throw biblical discernment out with the bathwater of hypocrisy. We do need to make careful evaluations about people.

    Comment by Chris Brauns — July 8, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  5. Where Casey Anthony is concerned, I would say that most of us don’t need to make an evaluation about whether or not she is a Christian. That is between her and the Lord and her local church.

    Comment by Chris Brauns — July 8, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  6. I was also convicted by the general public outcry towards Casey Anthony and sensed an opportunity for Christians to showcase God’s mercy and grace… allthingsloss.wordpress.com – thankfully Pastor Chris has a bigger platform and put forth much the same message…

    Comment by Kevin Mackesy — July 12, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  7. It seems to me that you are ignoring the fact that in God’s courtroom everyone deserves hell forever–including yourself. When you say that we should not forgive Casey Anthony you bring God’s justice upon your own head.

    The other thing wrong here is you are assuming the jury verdict was wrong. Unfortunately you’re in violation of the 9th commandment. The Bible says if charges are brought they must be sustained by two or three witnesses. Casey Anthony is innocent by legal decree.

    Justification before God is likewise a legal decree. Only in our case we are all guilty and worthy of hell. (Romans 3:9-23). We are justified by faith alone apart from good works (Romans 3:24-28).

    The problem is you’re an Arminian and have no clue what the doctrine of justification by faith alone means.


    Comment by Charlie J. Ray — July 17, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  8. The idea that we are justified by faith plus good works or an infused righteousness is a Roman Catholic doctrine, not biblical doctrine.

    Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:4-5

    Comment by Charlie J. Ray — July 17, 2011 @ 7:14 am

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