As of today (January 17, 2017) Obama has broken the record for the most number of pardons and shortened sentences handed out. Throughout his presidency, Obama has granted 212 pardons and 1,385 shortened sentences, 504 of which were life sentences (Whitehouse.gov). The number of shortened sentences he has granted is more than all the past 12 presidents combined (ibid). And Obama still has three days left in office.
Now, on one level this is great. Showing mercy. Giving people a second chance. Believing that people can change. I love that, especially since that is what the Lord has done for us (Hebrews 4:16). However, when 504 people had been given life sentences because of their crimes, it makes one wonder if these are the type of people who deserve a second chance. One person who is having his sentence shortened is Bradley Manning. This the man who disclosed nearly 750,000 classified or sensitive military documents, was charged with 22 offensives, including aiding the enemy (which can result in the death penalty), and now self-identifies as a woman by the name of Chelsea Manning. This certainly makes one wonder if these acts of mercy are politically driven or carry some sort of final agenda behind them.
It’s possible some of the people Obama showed mercy to were wrongly convicted or were even serving punishments too severe for their crimes. It’s also possible that some of these people should never again see the light of freedom. No matter where we stand on his actions, one thing is certain, justice will be carried out eventually.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 explains, “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Everyone will be sent to their appropriate eternal destinations based upon the way they lived (Matthew 25:31-33, 46).
Some people may justifiably receive mercy here, but it’s hard to know for sure if they are deserving. God will not make any errors in His judgment. On the day of judgment, let’s make sure we have obeyed the Lord so we can receive His pardon (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Revelation 2:10).