I love crime dramas. I particularly love movies or shows which feature criminals and agents of justice who demonstrate extraordinary intelligence and thought. There is nothing worse to me than a show or movie which has been billed as “thought provoking” or “brilliant” and, in reality, is unrealistic or, worse, common. Perhaps the reason for this is because I believe that I could be a brilliant agent of justice. I believe that I could outsmart a brilliant criminal. I think that’s really the appeal of all of the entertainment in that genre – we think we are that guy!
In the end, we are not. Take, for instance, these two alleged thieves. Having been accused of stealing a woman’s purse as well as the contents of that purse, the plaintiff and the defendants went to the only truly reliable source of justice – Judge Judy. Look what happens:
Did you catch that? He said the earpiece wasn’t in the purse. Brilliant.
Though Judge Judy was perceptive and swift in her justice, there is a higher authority than Judge Judy: God. Every day, humans stand, pleading innocence, within God’s just gaze. What case do humans make?
- “Don’t blame me for the ear piece. I’ve done a lot of bad things in this life, but I didn’t do that.” We see this in the ever-present defense, “I’ve never murdered anyone.” Well, congratulations. The standard against which we are judged is God’s perfect standard for humanity, not other humans’ extreme depravity. You don’t need to kill someone – just being angry out of selfishness is worthy of the guilty verdict. Guilty.
- “You don’t understand my situation; I needed to steal that purse. I needed to tell that lie. I needed to look out for myself.” Of course, what this means is, “I needed to do this wrong thing because I didn’t believe that God would provide through right things.” Basically, “God, please step down from your throne so that I might rule more effectively in your place.” Guilty.
- “I have given away more purses in my life than I have stolen purses. My good outweighs my bad. I’m basically a good person.” How exactly does that work? Who is the accountant of this ledger? Who decides what is good and what is bad? Can you check your balance at any time? How many goods make up for one really bad bad? Would the lady whose purse you stole agree that giving away some purses is a moral equal? In truth, God is the accountant and all humans are naturally in default. That doesn’t mean we can’t do any good; it means we’ll never be able to do enough to offset our rebellion against God. The scales will never tip in our favor through our effort. Guilty.
Fortunately for humanity, including the thieves in the video, the victim and the author of this blog, God didn’t leave us guilty and hopeless. There are days when I can, by the grace of God, make it 15 seconds without showing my blatant offense against God. There are days when I cannot.I am guilty; having a more positive attitude or not dwelling on that reality does not make the reality less true.
Fortunately, I have trusted in Jesus Christ to pay the price for my offenses and make things right with God. Everyday is a celebration of that liberation from judgment – but only because my trust, my hope and my identity are in Jesus Christ. How long does it take you to prove your guilt daily? There is hope! Learn more about this great story of forgiveness here: