What We Feel About the Turpin Family

There are lots of heinous crimes committed around the world every day. Some we hear about, some we don't. But the crimes that surfaced recently that happened inside of the Turpin family in Texas & California are crimes that hit us a little deeper because of the thirteen children that they involved.

If you don't know about the Turpin family you can read a lot of details of the case on the internet, but I'll summarize them quickly for you.

Louise & David Turpin had 13 children ages 2 to 29. They projected the image of a normal family on social media & a mostly normal family to their immediate family. They took family trips to Disney Land that included each of their children, celebrated birthdays, & the parents even renewed their wedding vows several times.

But behind the walls of their home, David & Louise committed terrible & unbelievable atrocities against their thirteen children.

These children were chained & shackled to their beds, beaten, choked, starved, & kept as captives inside of their small home. 

I've been following the case closely as more details have surfaced & each time I am more & more heartbroken for what these children endured. 

I was sharing more details with my Mom the other day and I voiced the thoughts that were going through my head. "You wonder why God allows such things & why those children underwent what they did."

Even as Christians we have unanswered questions as we see the results of a depraved world around us. 

During the initial arraignment the District Attorney named the reason for such behavior by David & Louise as the "depravity of man," not because of their "religion" or the fact that they claimed to homeschool, both reasons that some may be tempted to blame. And he was absolutely right.

The world probably feels a lot of hate towards these parents. When you begin to read about the kind of crimes they committed against their own children you can't help but begin to feel that way. They deserve to be hated, right? They deserved to be condemned in our hearts, right?

But how do we as Christians, even while feeling anger, disgust & deep sadness (& rightly so), take these things & learn something about sin while also learning how to see people like David & Louise? How do we not follow the rest of the world by justifying hate & condemnation in our hearts? 

Things like this help us realize what sin does when people give themselves over to its utter depravity. In Romans 1 God talks about giving some people over to committing lude and perverted acts among each other. Of course, we don't know the extent of what kind of acts these were, but the book of Romans gives us a good picture of the fact that there are some people He no longer restrains & the destruction of sin. 

David & Louise Turpin grew up in the Pentecostal faith when they were first married but some years later they began experimenting with different religions & beliefs, including witchcraft. We can imagine the kind of evil that this deepened even more within these two people. 

Realizing how depraved we are without Christ is a good reminder. No, most people don't do the kinds of horrible things that Louise & David did, but, when you live a life without Christ there is nothing that we are not capable of. This is a reminder that all of us are in deep need of the gospel. 

You and I sometimes can't even imagine allowing David & Louise Turpin into our prayers. We can't imagine praying for their salvation. 

But the verses in the Bible that address salvation do not have any stipulations about the kinds of people God does or doesn't save. 

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
— 1 Timothy 1:15

Paul was speaking in that verse above & he considered himself the chief of sinners. If you know anything about Paul you know that before he was saved, he persocuted the Christians that were rising up in the first century. He later became one of the most instrumental apostles that God used to lead many people to salvation.

Oftentimes God brings people to Him who have previously lived terrible lives of the grossest sin we can imagine. Oftentimes those people are some of His greatest tools.

We cannot limit what God may choose to do in someone's life even with a history marked with gross sin. We cannot limit Him & create our own stipulations for salvation. 

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
— Luke 23:39-43

This verse tells the story of the man who hung next to Jesus during His crucifixion who had lived a life of sin. This man had never done one good thing to deserve salvation, but at the end of his life this man had faith. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, & salvation were immediately extended to him from Jesus Himself & this man was promised a place in heaven upon his death. This is the essence of the gospel at work.

We must believe that the same grace & mercy extended to us is the same grace & mercy that God might choose to extend to people like David & Louise & like He extended to the thief on the cross, like He did for Paul, & like He's done for you and me.

Christianity doesn't follow the rest of the world in hate or hopelessness. Christianity champions the truth of a God who can change the hearts of the worst sinners, including people like David & Louise Turpin. 

As we read the unfolding details of the twenty-nine year old secret of David & Louise Turpin, let's not allow the atrocity of what they did cause us to harden our hearts in hate like the rest of the world may. Though its hard to imagine God turning the hearts of David & Louise (& He may choose not to) let's challenge ourselves to allow this situation to grow our faith, strengthen our prayers, & believe in the power of the gospel. 

Its important that as Christians we think about how we feel & process things like this & to fill our hearts with truth to combat the doubts & questions that will naturally arise. We cannot allow ourselves to be disinterested in events & heartbreaking stories that cause the rest of the world to wrestle with questions that for them, have no answers.

Stories like this tell the truths about God, sin, & the power of the gospel. They have the ability to grow us in grace, faith, compassion, & a heart of prayer if we allow them to. 

~ Jenn