Is it wrong to want evil people to suffer in hell? After reading about some extremely horrific sexual atrocities committed against children by Nazis during the Holocaust, I feel so much disgust that I can’t imagine justice for the victims if the souls of the perpetrators are not in hell. I thought I read somewhere in the Bible a passage regarding angels and others rejoicing while seeing sinners in hell, but I’m not sure where it is. Does the feeling of wanting the most evil among us who hurt, abuse, and murder children to suffer in hell make me a bad person and not a Christian?
God’s will is that people enjoy forgiveness of sins and eternal life through repentance and faith in his Son, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). God’s will is also that those who reject him receive the punishment they deserve (Mark 16:16).
Children of God understand that difference between the law and the gospel when they seek to spread the message of God’s love (John 3:16) to all people (Matthew 28:19-20) and when they ask that God punish evildoers (Psalm 35; Revelation 6:10). Martin Luther made this observation: “Therefore no one can pray the Lord’s Prayer correctly without cursing. For when he prays: ‘Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,’ he must put all the opposition to this on one pile and say: ‘Curses, maledictions, and disgrace upon every other name and every other kingdom! May they be ruined and torn apart, and may all their schemes and wisdom and plans run aground.’” (Luther’s Works, Volume 21, Page 101)
When Christians align their will with God’s in asking that evildoers be punished, they want to avoid any personal animosity on their part that might jeopardize their own forgiveness from God (Matthew 6:15; Ephesians 4:31). Christians want to let God be the Judge of people’s hearts.
As Christians, we recognize that this earthly life is a person’s only time to be brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 6:2). That is why we do what we can to spread the gospel and support the spread of the gospel. Finally, it is God’s will and ours that those who ultimately reject God receive justice from God and not love.
I am wondering if the Bible passage you have in mind is this: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Imagine the angels’ ongoing joy!