Jeffrey Dahmer and God’s Grace


Chance Howard

Several books that increase understanding of the need for God

What do you think of when you think of Jeffrey Dahmer? Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, the sex offender, the cannibal. His list of crimes goes on and on. Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted and imprisoned in Wisconsin, where capital punishment is illegal, meaning that instead of being executed, Dahmer would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dahmer was an Atheist and a fervent believer in evolution (not to say that all atheists want to murder and eat people). Dahmer rationalized his behaviors under the notion that animals kill and eat other animals, and according to his beliefs at the time, he was just like any other animal. His father began sending him anti-evolution material, and Jeffrey, having nothing better to do, began to read the material. Dahmer soon came to believe that evolution was false, which opened up his worldview to change. He began believing in God and was baptized on May 10th, 1994. He was visited constantly by the man who baptized him, Roy Ratcliff, who continued speaking with him until Dahmer was killed in prison.

The long introduction is simply to say this: It is entirely possible that after all of the vile, horrible, unspeakable crimes that he committed, Jeffery Dahmer is in Heaven. This opinion is popular among nobody, Christians and non-Christians alike. How could a loving God forgive someone horrible like Dahmer? People who ask that question do not have a proper understanding of God’s grace and mercy, nor do they grasp the depth of their sin.

When people are asked how much they lie, they often respond, “too many to count.” That is an honest but disheartening answer. When people lie, they engage in sin, as they are breaking the 9th commandment. If someone has ever been angry at someone for an unjust reason or lusted after someone in their heart, they have committed a sin.

People engage in idolatry daily, although it might not be how society is used to. Instead of bowing down and worshiping images made of wood and gold, people have ideas of a God in their heads that are often contradictory to the God of the Bible. These sins are admittedly easy to commit. However, one sin means the condemnation of a person. One sin at any time in your life will mean your condemnation, which is (part of) the gospel truth. When your transgressions are compared to someone like Dahmer, they may pale in comparison, but that does not mean you are not just as guilty in the courtroom of God.

People try many things to absolve themselves of sin. They can deny that their sins are a problem, they can try to justify themselves through good deeds or how they try to live their life. They can pray a magic prayer or dunk themselves in water, so their sins go away.

The problem with all of these things is that the sin still happens, with no attempt to correct it. People must repent. To “repent and believe” was the first command Jesus ever gave in his public ministry. With true repentance, a changing of the heart, which only God can grant, people feel hatred and remorse for their sins. Dahmer described himself as “sick,” and when he was convicted, he did not desire to fight the charges but asked for a maximum sentence. When talking to Roy Ratcliff, he discussed the possibility of killing himself, as that is what his crimes deserved, but Roy was able to dissuade him. While no man can know the true feelings of another, Dahmer seemed truly repentant, and his faith seemed genuine. God can forgive the sin of anyone who places their faith in him. The believer has his sins forgiven by Christ’s atonement, and his sins are blotted out, never to be remembered by God.

How does this relate to you, the reader? Sometimes people can feel too far gone to be forgiven. Knowing that God can forgive someone like Jeffrey Dahmer should be comforting, as while you may be a sinner, Jeffrey Dahmer is worse. However, this cannot be stressed enough because you are a sinner; you desperately need forgiveness.

Ask God to forgive you. God is willing and ready to forgive.