Under police escort, the twelve-year-oldÂ girl shuffled into the courtroom.Â She was wearing shackles on her ankles.Â A couple of times while I listened to herÂ short tragic history, she smirked at theÂ police escort. My emotions were reeling!
This scene raises questions about ourÂ society: â€˜Who are we?â€™ and â€˜Where onÂ earth have we gone wrong?â€™
The judge listened to the details veryÂ carefully, as she studied the accused.Â What should a good judge do with thisÂ problem? Ignore the suicide threats? FindÂ a correctional facility willing to admitÂ someone younger than thirteen, andÂ sentence harshly? Or should a good judgeÂ gather this child into her arms and weep.
There is a deeper reason why I am soÂ effected. I see myself in that twelve-yearÂ old and I see all of my peers in fallen Â humanity. I know that we each standÂ alone before God. He is holy and He isÂ just, and â€œshall not the Judge of all the earthÂ do right?â€ (Genesis 18:25).
I saw the dilemma in that good judgeâ€™sÂ eyes, but I didnâ€™t see her step down fromÂ the bench and remove the girlâ€™s shackles.Â Nobody expected her to do that. WeÂ expected that the outcome would be moreÂ just than merciful, or maybe too mercifulÂ and not enough justice. We expected toÂ leave the courtroom feeling somewhatÂ dissatisfied, but realizing that this wasÂ probably the best that could be done.
Conflict between the right thingÂ and the nice thing is actually a bigÂ philosophical problem. We feel like â€˜goodâ€™Â should be both right and nice, but timeÂ after time that is impossible. We areÂ frustrated because it seems like some partÂ of goodness is compromised.
Yet I find that this problem posesÂ no threat to the goodness of my Judge.Â His solution is described in John 1:17,Â â€œGrace and truth came by Jesus Christ.â€ AsÂ I stand guilty before the Judge of all theÂ earth and, trembling, lift my gaze to HisÂ throne, I find that neither justice norÂ mercy is compromised. On the cross ofÂ the Lord Jesus is unflinching truth andÂ perfect justice â€“ because on His cross sinÂ was punished. Yet on His cross is graceÂ and wonderful mercy â€“ because hangingÂ there, He was taking my place.
Do you understand my wonder that thisÂ Judge is truly, peerlessly, good? The JudgeÂ of all the earth will do right; and for allÂ those who continue to scorn His just offerÂ of mercy, merciless justice must be HisÂ only good alternative. Do you sense theÂ urgency?
Please receive His mercy today.
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