By Sarah Markley: My husband and I used to watch that Dateline show on television {back before Netflix and Hulu and where everything we watched was on the Internet} called To Catch a Predator.

A police officer or investigator impersonated a young teenager online, invited a potential sexual predator over to a house and Chris Hansen met the guy in the kitchen. Hansen would then verbally confront the would-be criminal and in front of an army of cameras and a million at-home viewers.

The predator would be taken away in handcuffs and booked behind the house with the local police department.

We would sit in the living room after our three-year-old was safely in bed and I would shake my head.

But not in disgust or fear.

What I was experiencing was empathy.

And at the time I didn’t even understand my own heart. I was disgusted by their harmful desires. I was repelled by the unholy desires that grown adults would have for children. And I was deeply grieved by the thought that somewhere a child was being hurt by someone who should be protecting them.

My own little one was upstairs sleeping and I had to draw back my thoughts before they went all the way there. To that.

But I also knew that there was a living, breathing human at the end of that evil and that he had a soul.

What must have happened to this poor man that for solace, comfort and “love” even, he had to seek out a child? It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. But equally as horrible was that someone had not protected him from the same abuse when he was a little boy, vulnerable to the evils of the world. Something had twisted and warped so greatly in him at some point that he must do something so sinister to another human.

I was sad for everyone, including the predator.

If it was my own child? To be honest, I couldn’t say if I would still be broken for the abuser. If it was my own little daughter, now sleeping quietly in her big-girl bed, what type of anger would I unleash on a predator who would seek to destroy her?

Hell-hot, righteous anger to be sure.

Even so, here is a broken person, a sad person, on the other end of that evil.

What if somehow we were able to get through to the empathy, to forgive the ones who destroy us or destroy our children?

What if we could leap toward the open and grace-brimming arms of God we might feel that empathy for the open, gaping wounds of the world? We can maybe come to a place of forgiveness for that evil and begin to see the wounders as the wounded.

Only in stepping around anger and toward grace can we help heal the hurts of a single broken person and begin to help heal the wounds of the world.