We Americans are a bloodthirsty bunch. I recently read a blog post on “internet outrage” and was relieved that the writer penned this issue so well. Like our creator, we are all endowed with a sense of justice. And, just like humans, that sense of justice often comes out totally warped.
A scandal of sorts occurs. Everyone begins to gasp and talk and the outrage develops. People begin to cry for blood. Someone must pay for that. Sometimes, the situation isn’t even the fault of one individual in particular, but someone must be thrown under the bus in order to satiate the rioting crowd. Sometimes, it’s the mess created by one person’s seemingly tiny mistake. Let me digress.
Recently, a CEO with a particular healthcare company was fired after making a racist remark during a company event. I know. That sounds like no-brainer. The individual made the comment casually, clearly without giving any thought to what they were uttering, or who was listening. And I am not defending what was said, or the character of that individual.
But. How many times have I done the same thing? I am fantastic at sticking my foot in my mouth. (I even have a name for it: Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome. Right?) I talk, and sometimes things come out in ways that I did not intend. (It’s good for me to write. And have editors.) And if I’m being totally honest, sometimes the things that come out of my mouth probably reveal more about my sinful heart than I ever intended to show. So, while we’re being honest here, how many of us can actually say, “I have never misspoken. I have never said (or done) the wrong thing, intentionally or not.” We judge, and yet we do the very same things, in one form or another.
That guy lost his job, naturally. Career ruined with one lapse in judgment. It happens, right?
Back to our sense of justice. There must always be someone to blame, someone to give an answer, to pay the price for the sin committed. Someone is fired, resigns, is locked away, and often someone makes an example of them.
We get that sense of justice from our Creator. When there were none to be found who could pay the penance following lawless deed after lawless deed to a holy, righteous God, He sent his Son, who set aside His Glory and took on the misery of human flesh and gave his life as a ransom for many. He became my scapegoat. My whipping boy. Jesus threw himself under the bus for me, so that I could get all the goods and share in His inheritance and His Glory someday. In this act I gained my identity, rather than having it stripped away by my failures and missteps.
There’s another amazing aspect to the justice of the Father. When the Son paid the price for all of my sins (past, present, and future), the punishment was over. God didn’t pour out His wrath on His Son, only to turn around and smite me for my offenses. This line of thinking, this “spiritual double-jeopardy”, is blasphemous. If God still needs to punish me, the cross of Christ is rendered useless and incompetent.
The justice of the Father also allows us to extend grace to others, sinners and saints alike. He forgave me, therefore I do not have the right to judge, condemn, or convict anyone else. I don’t need to be the Holy Spirit for anyone; He is far more competent in His line of work than we could ever dream. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all grasp GRACE, even just a little bit? Let’s be that hospital for the broken, rather than a judge for the guilty.
“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
Lord now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.”
Jesus Paid It All
Elvina M. Hall, 1865