We constantly hear of cases where the legal justice system is played to the advantage of the individual in the wrong – like pleading insanity for committing a murder or not finding enough evidence against an individual to rule them as guilty.
One of the most famous of these cases was the O.J. Simpson murder trial, in which he was being prosecuted for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. Due to a lack of evidence, he was found “not guilty.”
The main piece of evidence that most people remember from this case: a glove that had the blood of Simpson and the two victims on it. However, since the glove did not fit on his hand, Simpson was acquitted of the murders. Later on, O.J. Simpson wrote memoirs in which, for the most part, he confessed to the murders. However, because of the laws against double jeopardy, he could not be charged against those crimes that he had committed before.
Due to the way the laws and rules are set up for a government, it becomes so objective that it sometimes fails to serve judgment fairly. This is the same topic that Jesus discusses in John 7:14-24 when he is teaching in the temple:
But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?”Jesus answered them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel. For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” | John 7:14-24
He tells the crowd that they wrongfully judge him for healing on the Sabbath because the law says that you must do no work on the Sabbath. He tells them to take a closer look at the law and see for what reason that specific rule was given to them.
The law to rest on the Sabbath was given to the Jews so that they would separate time from their busy lives to focus on meditating on God’s word and spending time in His presence separated from all other distractions. The Jews took it out of context and became legalistic about it to the point that they would judge anyone who even lifted a finger to do any manual labor on this day. The law was completely misunderstood, making it ineffective for the people; they were obeying it in the wrong way for the wrong reasons. Was it the fault of the law? No, rather it was the fault of the people following the law. They were not seeking it with the right heart.
Even for us as believers, we have a tendency to follow God’s word for the wrong reasons sometimes. We may read from God’s word and pray every morning and evening, attend every meeting that is held in our churches, and even contribute in the offering that is taken on a regular basis – these are all great practices and responsibilities that we, as believers, should uphold. At the same time we should ask ourselves if our heart is behind our actions. Are we really seeking to serve God with what we do or is it to satisfy the “rules” that have been given by God’s word or our parents’ instruction?
We also need to be careful to examine ourselves to see if we have the right intentions before we make judgment on other believers for not doing the things that we may do. We are called to uplift, encourage, and edify our fellow believers rather than judge them behind their backs. Let’s strive to live out our Christianity and share the love of Christ to others in the coming days!