Monday, July 07, 2014

A Thought

"You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all your settlements that the Eternal your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice. You shall not judge unfairly: you shall show no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just." (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

Real justice can be very difficult to administer especially when it comes to the death penalty in the United States.  It has been shown through DNA, for instance, that some who had been condemned to die were actually innocent of the crimes for which they had been convicted.  There have been arguments that jail inmates who are awaiting arraignment to answer for crimes they have only been accused of should not be brought before a judge in jail clothing and/or cuffs and shackles because the very appearance of jail-related clothing can sway a judge unfairly.  The image is of one who is not merely “accused” but actually fits the profile of one who would commit such a crime.

We are easily swayed by appearances and are too often overcome by our own emotions especially pertaining to crimes against children.  Some crimes are so heinous that we demand someone be held accountable to the point that the first person arrested must be the guilty party; but in our rush and desperation for justice, we can often be too hasty and lose the necessary “partiality” The Lord requires.

Not only within our legal system but also in daily living, we render judgments almost constantly.  We discern information and evaluate appearances, and we typically render judgment according to how a particular situation fits our own circumstances.  More often than not, the “good ol’ boy” who is liked by everyone will be given much more latitude than a scruffy, sloppy, unkempt person with a mean look.  And the “stranger”?  That poor soul hardly stands a chance.

Let us remember that even though we may not be appointed officially as judges, we must be on guard against our own prejudices lest those who are mistreated by society as a whole do not get the justice our system – and our God – require.  Justice may be subjective to a large extent, but this does not mean The Lord will not hold us accountable for our unfair and unjust determinations.



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