Thought for the week, 26th August; Lucy Letby

Some acts seem too horrible to contemplate; the crimes of Lucy Letby fall into this category. Our thoughts and prayers must firstly be with the parents of the babies she so cruelly killed. But what of the woman herself? I cannot think of any other word than “evil” to describe her and her deeds. Fortunately, crimes such as hers are very rare; most people have sufficient of a moral compass not to stray into her world. There are however two questions which I find myself pondering. Once, she was a child, an innocent; how did she end up as the author of evil? And what will become of her?

Christianity offers some thoughts on these questions, although some may find them deeply distasteful. They all start with Lucy’s humanity, something she shares with us all. It goes on to talk about the “fallen” nature of humanity, what some commentators have called “original sin”. Essentially this says that part of being human is the freedom to make decisions for good or bad; sometimes, in spite of ourselves, we will all chose the bad. Almost everyone will stop well before she did, but the urge to put self first is inbuilt in us all. Secondly, it states that the same common humanity that we share means we all have the possibility of redemption, forgiveness. If I were a parent of one of Lucy’s victims, I doubt whether I could ever truly forgive her; I find it hard to imagine that she will ever now have a life outside of prison. But she is not beyond the mercy of God if she but recognises this. And neither are we; we may all be fallen sinners, but we all may become forgiven sinners.