Here I go thinking again….
I can’t escape it– the cry for justice is plastered in the media, and public arenas. Due to recent events as a trial unfolded regarding the life of a young girl cut short through a gruesome series of events, it seems that morality, justice, guilt and innocence are on the minds of everyone here in my country, and in my opinion, they should be. There is a dilemma that develops in my culture as these discussions take place around the coffee shops, radio waves, and kitchen tables. It is in these discussions that philosophies and world views come into conflict with realities.
In my blog, “In Response: Chilean Miner’s Rescue” I addressed this conflict in response to an article I found regarding the successful rescue of the Chilean miner’s where the author posed the question, “Why should we thank God for the successful rescue?” World views come into play as we deal with tragedy, triumph, good and evil. My discussion remains the same when viewing issues of guilt, innocence, justice, good and evil. Your world view should define those words, and with this thought I begin…
If I were a Hindu, I would have to believe that guilt is determined by the consequences of Karma. I cannot fully recognize guilt or innocence until I “see” Karma visiting your life with bad things. If you have bad luck, a disease, a deformity, loss of job, loved ones, or even your own life, I have to conclude that Karma is paying you back for something you have done in a previous life. In order to know this fully I would most likely have to seek out a “spiritist” who could consult the stars, your birth order, cast, and position in life and help me find out the “reason” that lay behind your tragedy. Once I realize that you are suffering consequences, I can set my mind at ease and allow you to take your punishment. It would only be fitting for me to allow you to suffer consequences so that you can attain a better chance in the next life.
If I were a naturalist, I would have to comfort myself and others with the belief system that there is no such thing as right and wrong. There is no standard of morality. I cannot judge someone’s actions as good or evil, because once I do that, I would be declaring a moral code, and my belief system does not allow for that. In fact that belief system rails against good versus evil. It is replaced with instincts and “Natural Selection”. I am supposed to be at peace with the loss of lives at any age because it is a part of the circle of life and ultimately will take my species to a higher plane of intelligence, strength and dignity. I would have to comfort my neighbors with the words, “There is no meaning to life anyway. There is no such thing as innocent life. We shouldn’t judge a murderer for acting on their primal instincts. That’s just the way it is.”
Where are the atheists in the coffee shops giving hope to the masses by saying “There is no God. There is no justice.” In fact, the atheist should be the most contented individual when faced with tragedy, war, horror and evil because they just don’t believe in any of that. To name something a “tragedy” I would have to invoke a standard of good and evil. To label someone “guilty or innocent” I would have to believe that there was a morality that distinguishes between the two. To be angry at injustice would imply that I believe there is such a thing as justice, and someone is enforcing it. Why aren’t the atheists of the world standing up and praising their “maker” which is “Chance,” “Chaos,”and “Meaninglessness”?
Instead what you see at the water coolers and discussion tables are people wrestling with the “Stamp of God” in them that causes them to feel anger, pain, frustration, and sorrow over the loss of innocent life. You see people insisting that justice be served and that the guilty get their punishment. You see people invoking morality standards on a life outside of their own, but often refuse to apply that same standard to their own lifestyles because that is painful, unsettling and difficult. It’s easier to borrow another’s world view in crisis.
Within the heart of all of us is a cry for justice, a longing for things to made right, a desire to see life renewed and lived out with its full purpose. We can deny it, medicate it, trivialize it, or compartmentalize it, but it just doesn’t go away. Injustice doesn’t set well with us in our gut. We were designed to feel the effects of sin and seek a Savior.
Our hearts are drawn to a higher standard, a Justice beyond ourselves, a hope that things will be righted and the guilty will be punished. But when we look at that standard, we have to recognize that the same standard governs our lives and actions as well. We will give an account for our lives and actions. We will be weighed on the scales of justice and unless we are willing to bow our knee to the ultimate Judge and accept His payment for our guilt, we will pay, in our bodies and spirits the penalty for our injustice. If we want justice we must submit ourselves to a Judge who has moral supremacy, ultimate Truth, and can see the future as well as the past. When we see what justice really looks like we will be grateful for and cry out for the gift of Mercy. Both of these things are found in Christ.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Know what you believe. Know Who you believe. Live your beliefs.
New King James Version (NKJV)
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?