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A Mother's Love for the Unabomber

The first church in which I served was in Helena, Montana. I would often spend some of my week studying in the public library right at the edge of town. I always saw the same group of four or five scruffy-looking guys wearing dirty coats and long beards. They looked like mountain men—probably because they were. They came down out of the hills to study who knows what. I would see these guys with stacks of books, sitting in cubicles. I didn't think a lot of it at the time, but about four years after I left, I found out that one of those guys was Ted Kaczynski—the Unabomber.

If you know anything about Kaczynski's story, you know that he grew up a very gifted young man. He became a math professor, but was soon disillusioned and moved to the mountains of Montana. He would sometimes come down from the mountains to send mail bombs to people he didn't like. After years of investigation, he was finally discovered by police and sent to prison.

At this point the story gets even more interesting. A while ago, his mother, Wanda Kaczynski, was interviewed by a reporter with the Chicago Tribune. She made some statements that I thought were powerful. At the time that the article was written, she had been writing monthly letters to her son in prison. She shared with the reporter what she had written in her most recent letter. She wrote: "I want you to know, Ted, that when a child is born, the parents give them the gift of unconditional love for a lifetime. This is true of you. No matter what happens, my love for you will be there for a lifetime. Love, Mother."

Even after he had refused to look at her when he entered the courtroom during his trial, even after he had given testimony in court that described her as a horrible person, she still loved him enough to write those monthly letters.

We look at that as a rather amazing act of human love, but Romans 5 says God has done something even more incredible than that. While we were still sinners—while were still in full-out rebellion against him—he sent his son to die for us. In 1 John 4:10, John writes, "This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

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