Thursday, June 19, 2008

Justice

Justice is symbolized by scales. The scales of justice are seen as being even with each other. This represents that the punishment for a crime would be even with the crime itself. Sadly, our justice system falls far short of this representation or ideal.

Do murderers, rapists, and drug dealers get their due when they are sentenced a few short years, only to be paroled before those years are served? Is the punishment really fitting the crime? We may think that we are being humane when we lighten their sentence or allow them second chances, but is it justice or a simple band-aid on the problem of violent crime?

I can honestly say that I stand in the middle of the road as far as the death penalty. My heart is saddened by the idea of taking a life even when it is administered by government. On the other hand, there are people who are so totally evil in their thinking that the only solution to ridding society of their scourge is to pronounce and follow through on their execution. Then there is always the hope of redemption. How long do we wait to hear that they have repented? How long do we wait for them to have a change of heart? There is not a clear dividing line and perhaps we must leave that up to God and simply pronounce judgement that is due the offence.

How should we handle the "lesser" crimes that do not involve violence against a person, but cause misery for others because of loss of money or possessions? Do prison terms really make the scales even? Shouldn't the one who steals or destroys anothers property be made to pay back? How can this be done when he/she is incarcerated? Why should these crimes be for the same length of time as many of the violent crimes?

Our justice system is wrought with people who desire power over others, who crave revenge or the satisfaction of watching others hurt. Maybe they have a sense that they are better than others. Whatever the reason, we all do it to one another. We recognize the sin in others because we also are infected with sin. We know it must be punished and yet we want to avoid it for ourselves. So, we are ready and willing to punish others, making sure they pay a high price for their sin no matter how miniscule or severe.

Sin does have a high price. The sin of Adam and Eve was a sin of disobedience. It could be considered minor in comparison to murder, yet it was still sin and demanded a high price for redemption. That price was the life of Jesus, the Son of God. In our minds Gods' justice might look uneven, but God is a just judge. Adam and Eve knew that the sin of disobedience would bring death. and God served that justice on His Son.

Our first parents could have chosen life. There was a tree of life in the garden that God wanted them to eat. Unfortunately, Man chose death through the knowledge of good and evil. Since that time we continue to choose death every time we sin. Gods' justice in our lives can only be satisfied through Jesus' death. Gods' justice is perfect because He is perfect. He demanded a life for our sin and then gave the life of His Son. Our justice, however, is flawed because we are flawed. We demand a payment for crime based on our own needs. We demand too little or too much.

We could do much better with our justice meted out through our courts. We could even up the scales, but even if we fail there is the Judge over all who will judge in righteousness and love. He will judge each of us perfectly. I want to have His judgement over my sins already paid for because it is a high price. Jesus has already paid it, why should I turn His offer down?

Think about it: If you need someone to pay the price of your sin wouldn't you want Jesus to do it? Don't wait!
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