I Have a Murderer for a Friend

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a friend of sinners.  Mostly since I found out two Sundays ago that the man who has served me many Seirra Mists, enchiladas, cheese dips, and who fed me my birthday dessert and sang to me, was arrested for two counts of 2nd degree murder.

Manuel Cazares was a server at Gran Rio – the restaurant where you are most likely to find my family.  We go there often – Brian brushes up on his Spanish and I try to understand.  Brian tried sharing the Gospel with Manuel about a year and a half ago and Manuel told him he was, “too bad” and that he would think about serious things when he got older.  I’m praying he is thinking about serious things now.

I’ve wondered if this post is appropriate.  I am not defending Manuel; his actions cannot be defended.  However, as a Christian, I have been convicted that this situation is not being handled well.  I am deeply saddened by the way he is being thought about and talked about in the community, and even among Christians.

At the core, Manuel is still a man without the Lord.

So, can be done?  The crimes have been committed, we cannot bring his two victims back.  Are we supposed to gloss over the details and say everything is “okay” and “He’s probably a good man at heart”?  I don’t think so.

  • Resist the Urge to Slander
    The facts are all in the open, so are the stories (they are everywhere).  We know that Manuel murdered his ex-girlfriend and another man – why do we replay that over and over?  When you feel the urge to gossip, or dwell on sin, remember this: “but for the grace of God go I.” (John Bradford) We cannot expect a sinner to do anything but sin.   And without Christ, any one of us could be in the same situation.
  • Pray
    When you feel yourself about to slander, or think damning thoughts towards Manuel or any other non-believer, pray for that person.  That’s right, pray.  Pray that his horrific sins would lead him to Christ.  Pray that Christians would reach out to him and share the Gospel to a softened heart. Pray that the families of the victims would be wrapped in the loving arms of our savior.  Pray for the other workers at Gran Rio and Mi Mexico that they would see the gravity of sin and turn to Christ.
  • Look for Opportunities – and take them
    Don’t let this all be in vain.  Look around for opportunities to share the love of Christ and do it.  I regret never asking Manuel to come to my house for a meal, and I regret not trying harder to share.  His salvation is not in my/our hands, but there is a responsibility given to Christians to reach out and try.

Jesus was a friend of sinners, and consequently many of them followed after Him.  There is hope in the cross.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Manuel turned to Christ and was able to minister to other  murderers in prison?  He isn’t going to do that on his own.  Please pray and leave the condemning to the only Righteous Judge.


About Kassie Phillips

My name is Kassie. I am wife to Brian. I am mom to Malaki, Cora, & Jairus. We live in Southwest Missouri. Life for us is crazy, overwhelming, messy, and fun.
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2 Responses to I Have a Murderer for a Friend

  1. Rosalia says:

    Hi kessie,
    I’m also Manuel’s friend and to be honest I’m still in shock of what he did, because that is not the Manuel that I have known for years. I’m not defending him either, but as good christians we should pray together for his salvation. I beleived deep inside he is sorry, but unfortunately the damage is already done. Like you said, we should pray for those who were lost, for those who lost their loved ones and for manuel.

  2. Lacey says:

    Matthew 9:7-And he arose, and departed to his house. 8. But when the multitudes saw [it], they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. 9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11. And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12. But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13. But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    Kassie, thank you for this post, i will join you in prayer for manuel and the victims families, sometimes i am quick to judge and slander when what i really need to be doing is praying that in the midst of this horrible horrible tragedy God will be glorified.

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