I live a couple hours away from the district court where Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, stands trial. People are demanding justice. Some hope that Chauvin is found guilty of all counts and goes to prison for a long, long time. Others say that Floyd died of a drug overdose and should walk. One can find chaos there, but will one find justice?
Judging by the police barricades and the large number of National Guard troops assigned, many expect things will only get more chaotic, not less. People are looking for justice, but I don’t think we even understand what that is. Do we find justice by declaring Chauvin guilty without a trial, like the City of Minneapolis did with their $27 million settlement? Or do we find justice in riots that seem almost a certainty? We won’t find justice because we are looking in the wrong place.
Certainly, lawmakers, enforcers, and judges are charged with being fair. In that, they are to be mindful of those who cannot help themselves. How many times through scripture do we hear this call? However, true justice comes from only one source:
Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice. Proverbs 29:26
Could God judge the Chauvin trial fairly? Of course he could, but many would be likely be unsatisfied even then. Why do I say that? Because the people weren’t satisfied with Jesus’ trial. Jesus was falsely accused. The judge (Pilot) declared Jesus innocent. Even so, he allowed Jesus to be crucified because he was afraid of the mob.
Justice. Do we really want it?
Do you remember the story of the adulteress in John 8? She was dragged before Jesus to test him, to see whether or not Jesus would stone her as prescribed by Moses. All the accusers left when Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Did Jesus thus cancel capital punishment? (See my last post for more on this.) I don’t think so. Why? Because the crowd only brought her to the “trial.” The guilty man was required to be stoned as well, yet they did not bring him.
That doesn’t mean that the woman gets off on a technicality. No, that means that these guys don’t get to stone her because they had the guilty hands of an impartial accuser. However, something very interesting happened. Jesus forgave this woman of her sin. Did he give her a pardon for that particular crime? No, he gave her a complete pardon for all her sin.
The Jews knew full well that God alone had authority to forgive sin, and Jesus proved that he was granted that authority when he healed the paralytic man (see Mark 2:10). Jesus forgave this woman. It was within his discretion. Done deal.
Here’s the real thing. All of us will one day stand trial for our deeds. That court date has been set. As we read in Hebrews – “And just as it is appointed for a man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” – our day is coming. Apart from divine intervention, the same type the adulterous woman received, we all will be found guilty. Our rightful home is the lake of fire for all eternity.
Justice is good. Seek mercy.
Justice is good. We want it when we are harmed. It is also good when we are the ones who cause harm. We then want mercy, but we can’t have it both ways. It is fair and right and good that God judges us all to the lake of fire. It is also fair and right and good that God has mercy on whom he will have mercy (Romans 9:15-16). We know that he alone decides who and how many based solely on his discretion. We also know that that number will be few (Matthew 7:13-14). I may not understand all this, but I believe it to be true and trust God in his wisdom.
Let us also trust him to do as he commands us. We who are born again are given the office of Ambassador charged with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Our job is to make disciples to all men in all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and to pray for all men that God may grant them repentance (Matthew 9:38, 1 Timothy 2:1-7).
Talk about these things with people. Share the gospel. There has never been a better time than today. We are closer to the Day of Judgment than people realize. Implore with people as if their very life depends upon it. It does.
Christian, will you commit to sharing the gospel with one person today? How seldom do we ever do this! Today, please, resolve to share the gospel. I guarantee the more you do it, you will see things differently. But don’t do it begrudgingly. Do it with joy, and he will grant you the fruit of the Spirit. Who couldn’t use some of this?
Father, encourage your church! Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers