I know how strange this question is.
The question occurred to me after the murder of George Floyd (I knew Floyd – read this post for more) and my considering writing a letter to Derek Chauvin, the one who took Floyd’s life on May 25, 2020 while he was in police custody. I have corresponded with multiple incarcerated people for over the years, only as they are willing, in the hope to encourage them and perhaps to guide them in their faith journey.
The thought occurred to me, if Chauvin confesses his sins (not just the aforementioned), repents and asks Jesus to be the Lord of his life, scripture asserts he would be saved and spend his eternity in the presence of Jesus.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
In the First John reading, it sites that “all unrighteousness” will be forgiven and cleansed from us. Hebrews says God will not remember our sins – meaning those that have been forgiven. And there are many, many more references to the absolute forgiveness offered by God, freely given to us and made possible through Jesus’ shed blood.
So, given this insight, it means anyone, even a murderer, can enter into glory with God.
Would Chauvin and Floyd recognize each other if they were to meet in heaven?
Jesus was recognized by others after his resurrection. Moses and Elijah were named, so therefore recognized, during their transfiguration in Matthew 17. Lazarus was recognized by his master in the parable in Luke 16. So, it seems that we will know in heaven who we knew while we were in our previous lives.
I have delayed writing on this question because the question is not only odd but could be hurtful to those who knew and loved Floyd – or for that matter, the loved one of anyone murdered. It just doesn’t square with our sense of justice that a murder could “get off” and even hang out with his/her victim(s) in eternity.
For me, the most important thing in examining this question is that if the above it true, and God will forgive a murderer AND even allow them to meet in heaven, how great is His love and forgiveness for me and all the terrible things I have done, not done, thought and may yet do? God’s love is so powerful, overarching and complete that he can even forgive a murderer – which helps me understand and believe that he can and does forgive me as well.
By the way, I have sent a letter sent to Mr. Chauvin.