Every time a news story breaks about a new case of child sexual abuse or a child porn user, a slew of people rush to the comments section to declare their thoughts about the criminal.
“Scum of the earth…”
“Bring back the death penalty…”
“Let him stay with the general population in prison, see how he likes that…”
In one sense, I can relate. Nothing sickens me more than the thought of people hurting and abusing children, especially since I’ve had kids of my own. At times, I’ve read details of these horrific cases and felt a burst of rage, and contemplated what justice might look like for that person.
We all want justice, don’t we?
We all want to see these vile offenders pay for the wrong they have done and the harm they have caused.
So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…
“Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.
“Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.
“Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.
Do you think you’re better than a paedophile?
That’s not a trick question.
Are you a better person than a paedophile?
Have a read of what Jesus has to say in Luke 18:9-14:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Don’t trust in yourself that you are righteous. Fall on your knees before God.
Ask for His mercy.
Because He can see inside your heart, and He knows you aren’t righteous.
He saw every time you lied. Every time you kindled the fire of hatred against another human being. Every time you lashed out in anger, whether with words or with hands. Every time you ignored Him. Every time you put someone else before Him. Every time you satisfied your lust. Every time you put desire for things above love for people. Every time you clamoured to get more than you need. Every time you deliberately deceived someone.
Step out of the Judge’s seat, and onto the floor with the sinners.
I promise there is enough mercy to go around.