John Wayne Gacy was executed by the State of Illinois for kidnapping, torturing, and murdering 33 young men. Gacy was an evil, cruel, hateful man, and I confess I’m glad he’s no longer a threat to society.

But that raises difficult questions in my mind. What should a believer’s attitude be when the wicked are punished? Should we rejoice when cruel people pay for the suffering they have caused?

We get some help in Psalm 58, where David prayed that God would execute justice on the evil people who opposed him. “Break their teeth in their mouth,” he entreated (v.6). “Let them be like . . . a stillborn child” (v.8). Those are strong words!

But a key observation must be made here. David was praying that God’s justice would be carried out against the incorrigibly wicked who, “like the deaf cobra,” ignored all attempts to turn them from their error (vv.3-5).

God is a God of justice. His holiness is affirmed when child molesters, mass murderers, and the defrauders of the innocent pay for their crimes.

Let’s rejoice that God cannot tolerate evil. But let’s also rejoice that God is merciful. Through the sacrifice of His Son, we are forgiven and God’s justice is satisfied.