Someone told me about this article concerning "reformed" sex offenders and their desire to be a part of a church family. I put reformed in quotes because I wonder if they have all repented. If they truly did, their lives would show it. See the definition of forgiveness on my sidebar.
This whole idea of forgiveness and criminals makes me pause. We can forgive a crime but, ultimately, it is God who offers the greatest forgiveness. When a person repents, he turns away from his sin. When Mary Magdelene came to Jesus for forgiveness, He gave it to her with these words, "Go and sin no more." (emphasis is mine)
The article referenced pertains to registered offenders who have committed crimes against children. What do you think? Should they be allowed to attend a church where child care is provided? Should they be allowed to sit beside your cute little girl? What about the teenage girl in the next pew? How would you feel if one sat beside you? Would you be screaming, "Love! Love!"
These are tough questions. I really don't know for sure where I stand on this issue. What I do know, however, is that I have sinned. Is there a varying degree of sins, worse sins, worst sins? Is my sin of overeating or watching a movie that I know I shouldn't any worse than someone else's sin of shooting someone or molesting a child?
God has forgiven me. Still, some of the results of my sins have remained. I have to pay the consequences for my actions, and so do those who harm children or anyone else.
I would have to conclude that, although it seems rough, God is just and He allows us to suffer the consequences when we disobey Him. Read the Old Testament through and through to understand this. Then read the New Testament. Same thing. The criminal whom Jesus forgave on the cross still had to die. He didn't miraculously jump from his cross and yell, "I'm forgiven; I'm free!"
Again, it's a tough topic and one which that causes me to struggle.