How To Pray For The Man Who Kills Babies

Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial for the twenty-plus years of atrocities that took place in his abortion clinic. The details of what actually happened in that clinic are enough to make you vomit, scream, and want to punch a wall. The more I read about the case the more it becomes clear that Kermit Gosnell was an evil man who did tremendously evil things. Horrific, holocaust-like things. Demonic things.

How should we Christians respond to this kind of evil? After all, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who mistreat us. So how do we respond to a man who has killed babies, hurt women, and committed other untold wicked deeds? We respond in two ways.


There is such a thing as godly rage. In Romans 13:3-4 it says:

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,?for he is God?s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God?s wrath on the wrongdoer.

God appoints rulers, judges, presidents, kings, and supreme courts to act as servants on his behalf. They are appointed by God to execute God’s wrath upon those who do evil. God has placed a divine sword in the hands of the men and women who rule our country, and they are to use that sword on behalf of the Lord.

Therefore, it is appropriate to pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive divine justice. It is right to pray that government would convict him of his crimes and appropriately sentence him for his crimes. If that means the death penalty, so be it. We should pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive justice for the wickedness he has done. It is right to pray that the government would fulfill its God-given duty.

And we can be assured that even if Gosnell does not receive appropriate justice now, he will receive appropriate justice when he stands before the throne of God. We serve a God of justice, and he will not let injustice win. There are no mistrials or hung juries with the Lord.


Strange as it may seem, we should pray for Kermit Gosnell to experience both God’s justice and God’s mercy. In Ezekiel 33:11 the Lord says:

Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…

In this passage we see the beautiful complexity of God. He is a God of justice who will not let a single evil deed go unpunished. At the same time he is also a God of mercy who takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. God’s desire is that Kermit Gosnell would repent of his sins, embrace the forgiveness available through Christ, and receive eternal life.

When we’re confronted with wickedness on the scale of Gosnell’s, we’re also confronted with the scandal of the free gospel. If Gosnell turned to Christ, every one of his sins would be forgiven. Would he still be executed by the state? Possibly. And that would be right. Forgiveness of sins doesn’t mean escape from the earthly consequences of sin. But he wouldn’t experience the wrath of God because Christ took the wrath in his place. Christ became the baby killer in his place. Incredible.

When confronted with extravagant, Gosnell-like, Boston-like evil, we should pray that the perpetrators of evil would feel the sword of God’s justice. We should also pray that the wicked men and women involved would experience the incredible, life-changing, sin-forgiving mercy of God.

We don’t serve a safe God. His ways are not like our ways. But we do serve a just God and a good God. As we read the headlines, let’s pray for mercy and justice to prevail.

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I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river. I’ve also written a number of books, which people seem to like.


  1. lisa says

    Great post, Stephen. Thank you. One small but, I think, important addition: "Forgiveness of sins doesn't [necessarily] mean escape from the [earthly] consequences of sin." Just to clarify. But I love how you talk about the "beautiful complexity of God" and the "scandal of the free gospel." Substitutionary atonement is such an amazing thing. And thanks for the reminder to pray for Kermit Gosnell — I admit I haven't been.

  2. Debra says

    I am not familiar with the accused. But I gather from the context that he has not yet been convicted of a crime. If that is the case, how do we know he 'did' it? Isn't that up to a jury to decide?

  3. Elaine says

    Excellent post, Stephen; a difficult subject but one that needs to be brought front and center. I am so grateful for the Lord forgiving my sins and flooding me with His grace and mercy. I'll pray for Gosnell that the Lord would extend the same grace to him that He did to me. Sigh….I'm quick to pray for justice for Gosnell but oh, so slow to pray for grace. Ezekiel 33:11 will be my prayer for him.

  4. Paul Reed says

    I have to ask: What about justice for the women who went to get the abortions? Why shouldn't they get jail-time or execution too? Murder-for-hire is murder, no? It seems so often like pro-lifers treat women like they are 12 or 13-years accused of some horrific crime, but the woman's brains just aren't developed enough for them to face any kind of justice.

      • Paul Reed says

        No they won't. They take their babies to be murdered, get no legal punishment, and no one, not even pro-lifers suggest that this is a problem.

        • Kathy says

          Sometimes, these women deal with the "justice" of later regret or remorse. But, as the article stated, ultimate justice comes from God.

        • says

          I understand what you're getting at. But the reality is they will get justice from God. They may not see justice in this life, but there is no escaping the justice of God.

          You're argument could be applied to many other situations as well. We live in a world where human justice doesn't always happen. But divine justice never fails.

          • Melody says

            They can have forgiveness too. It’s an unforgiving religious society that makes things as bad as a indulgent liberal one. Both ignores that it is only the cross that saves us.

  5. says

    Truly amazing. I’m sitting here reflecting on the unfathomable God we serve. Your succinct thoughts have helped order my thoughts on this issue. Very good article. I’ll be sharing it for sure. Thank you.

  6. Eli says

    just think about the same way with the men in Boston i mean they also did unspeakable things but they still deserve forgiveness by us


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