People reel at the thought of injustice going unpunished. The thought of a woman being mercilessly assaulted and beaten by a man rightly draws the ire and rage of any with a semblance of pity. The immediate cry for justice and the arrest of that man are heard near and far.
In the case of the recent beat down in Midtown there are a few things that Christians need to recognize. First there is complete and utter apathy towards the woman who was assaulted. Bystanders who see the assault taking place just stare and gawk. No one makes a move to lend aid or assist in any way.
Apathy is a form of cowardice. It is yielding to the fear of consequences or personal harm that might result from getting involved. The Christian response ought to be one of interposition.
To interpose is to stand in the gap. It is the act of involving oneself in the fray. The Christian mindset seeks to stand between danger and the innocent and against injustice by decisive action.
The second observation that must be made is that the man perpetrating the assault was out on parole after previously being incarcerated for murdering his mother. The injustice in this case is astounding.
Justice is the act of restoring a victim who has been wronged, making the person whole. In cases of theft there is to be restitution. In cases of murder, the law of God requires the death penalty. When a person murders someone the murderer’s life is forfeit.
Our society is decidedly humanistic in it’s approach to justice. We view the death penalty as harsh and barbaric. Since the people are the perceived judges, the people bear the burden of execution. People are flawed. We do not want to condemn ourselves with the same standard we condemns others with. Instead the murderer is locked away from society. Incarceration is redefined as rehabilitation and promoted as an act of mercy or pity.
In striking contrast, the law of God mercifully forbids pity on the perpetrator of a crime. The murderer is in the wrong, and their crime must be made right. Mercy is to be shown to the victim. Justice defends the defenseless, restrains the wicked, and removes the murderer from among the innocent. God is a merciful judge.
In this story we see the truth in Solomon’s words “the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10 ESV). This man was not put to death for his heinous crime of murder. As a result he has acted consistently with his fallen nature. He has struck out again at another image bearer of God. Only a return to God’s standard of justice will result in peace in the earth. With man’s self-determination of good and evil we are assured continual injustice.