Derrick Bird - Good man or bad man?

Reading statements from the family of Derrick Bird and making comments based on his own knowledge of Bird the Rev Jim Marshall said the following: “…We cannot offer any reason why Derrick took it upon himself to commit these crimes.” “I have to tell you that the family puts no blame on Derrick, they knew Derrick for 52 years… there was a new Derrick for a few hours of last Wednesday and the two things are very separate in the minds of friends and family.”

I have found it fascinating speaking to people about this recent Cumbrian horror story as I have gone on my rounds, mostly because many of the people I have spoken to are incredibly reluctant to blame Bird for the crime. The overwhelming statement is “good people just don’t do this sort of thing.”

My boss (speaking more perceptively than he knew) said: “There must have been something wrong with him – good people just don’t do that sort of thing.”

We live in the midst of a society that is franticly striving against any concrete definition of the concept of guilt; homosexuality, immorality, adultery, drug-abuse, abortion and now mass-murdering are all excused as the acts of individuals who “couldn’t help themselves.” “It’s the way they are.”

So why are we desperately trying to make these sins acceptable where we think possible (homosexuality, abortion, adultery etc…) or the uncharacteristic acts of basically good people? Because the moment that an individual accepts that there is such a thing as sin is the moment at which they must accept that there is law, and if there is law then there is a law giver and that starts getting scary.

Paul writing to the Ephesians says: “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

Paul says we are to expect that the actions of unrepentant sinners will be at best: futile, lacking in understanding or wisdom, ignorant, hard hearted and alienated from the life of God. So when my boss says “he must have had something wrong with him,” the answer is “yes!” and so do all other unforgiven sinners.

We must never fall into the trap of segmentising people into ‘good’ sinners and ‘bad’ sinners because according to Romans all those who fail to accept the truth of the gospel are without excuse, having debased and futile minds and foolish hearts. So Derrick Bird, good man or bad man? As you come across people this week while this story is still current speak to them about Derrick Bird, maybe the Lord will use this to make the penny finally drop.

By David van den Broek

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  1. Apparently, he was on anti-depressants for most of his life.

  2. Maybe he was a nice person, or he could have been horrible. All we can know is that the way his life ended was a very tragic and sad story.

  3. He could of been nice but we don't really know... maybe something horrible happened to him that made him want to kill all those people

  4. It is a matter of recognizing that humans have a sinful nature. Nothing but the grace of God keeps us from acting any worse than any other sinner out there. In fact, one of the things that distinguishes Christianity from every other religion out there is that we believe in an inherently sinful human nature that is unable to work its way into God's favor. But the good news is that God came to us! Drawing us to himself and filling us with his Spirit. So since we know that we are no better than this man, we should have a heart for sharing the gospel with everyone knowing that God's is powerful enough to save anyone.


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