Last Friday, Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years for the death of George Floyd. Everyone has an opinion on that. Some think the sentence was fair. Others would like to see him dead. Still others think he got a rotten deal. All these and everything in between. Without a doubt, this event has brought chaos in the streets, not just to Minneapolis but to points all over the world.
My aim is not to discuss Chauvin. My aim is to point out how different people can be when it comes to perceived justice. I think we all agree that justice is a good thing when someone harms us. The more harm, the more severe the consequences. That makes sense.
The problem is getting everyone to agree on the “proper” sentence for the crime. Some prefer rehabilitation. Others want punishment. Perceptions are different whether you have been harmed by an offense or not. Even two people injured in the same way at the same time by the same perpetrator may very well have different views on what might be “fair” justice.
Equal Justice For All?
We can see what happens when a whole segment of the population has had enough. Look no further than the George Floyd riots or even the American Revolution, for that matter. It’s hard enough for honest people to make equitable laws let alone when you add dishonest people into the mix.
There is no getting around this problem. When humans attempt to make laws for themselves, it’s bound to be chaos in the streets. Maybe not literally, but certainly figuratively. Chaos in the streets doesn’t need to be in the form of a riot, either. This isn’t a new problem. The Book of Judges is known for this verse, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
The bottom line is that it is impossible for mankind to deliver equal justice for all because our own self-interest is corrupt. Don’t misunderstand me. But this I do not mean corrupt as one can possibly be. What I do mean is that any self-interest is bound to eventually manifest itself in corruption. Again, one person’s idea of corruption will be another’s acceptable practice. And we wonder why there is chaos in the streets!
Is There Any Hope?
It should be clear to Americans that politicians are not the answer. No matter how much we hate the “other” guy, we have to be honest and recognize that ours has major problems, too. Besides, the us-against-them attitude will never prove to be in the best interest of all.
Is there any hope to all this?
Indeed, there is, but not in the way most people will consider. Even so, I am asking you to do just that.
Whether we know it or not, or whether we like it or not, there is a fair, just, and equitable law for all of the earth. Furthermore, there is one judge who has all the facts and is uniquely qualified to weigh all the evidence against the perfect standard of law.
That’s good news because there will be true justice for those that have harmed you. It’s also bad news in that there will be the same justice for the harm you have done to others. This justice cuts both ways because we all are guilty. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Yes, we are all guilty.
Perhaps we can accept that. However, we likely won’t be happy with the sentence. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) The death is not annihilation; it is an eternal punishment, the lake of fire, in which there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42)
The bottom line is we refuse to acknowledge the actual harm we intentionally do to ourselves and others. We refuse to consider the long-reaching consequences and compounding effect of our tolerance to sin. Only we we truly consider just how evil even the best of us are will we understand that justice is not possible left to man’s standards. Left to our own, there will always be chaos in the streets.
But there is hope. No, there is no hope in man getting things right, but there is hope in escaping the wrath to come. You see, Jesus came so that we may have forgiveness of our sin. But he didn’t come to save the entire world. Rather, he came for those who would have faith in him – those who follow him, who turn their back on their sinful ways and commit their lives to him.
That’s the born-again crowd. You know them. We all know them. Frankly, hardly a soul wants to be one. I certainly didn’t for most of my life. But, truly, that’s the only hope there is to escape the wrath of God. Jesus.
But, odds are that you will reject that. I understand. I was the same way. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. I’m asking you to really think hard about this.
Chaos in the Streets
What about the meantime? What can we do in the meantime to prevent chaos in the streets? Like I said, man-made laws won’t work. However, God’s law will. Go to the Old Testament. God clearly lays out his perfect law and perfect punishment. I’ll tell you right now, the punishment is very severe. Death is the sentence for many violations that today we find as normal ways of life. Here’s a previous post of mine on that topic.
Father, I pray that you may touch the hearts of those who read this message. Let them consider the wisdom of your law and make wise choices. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers