I needed a couple days to cool off before I wrote on this topic. By now, everyone in America has heard of Brock Turner, the man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman last year. While the prosecution asked for a 6 year sentence, the judge thought that a long prison term would have “a severe impact” on the criminal and gave a sentence of 6 months, of which there is a possibility he may only serve 3.
When I heard that I nearly lost my mind.
3 months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman. What has this world come to? There are no words that can express the depth of loathing I have for the man who assaulted the woman and the judge who is refusing to bring justice against the vile perpetrator.
But Chris, what about Jesus’s words about forgiveness? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to forgive and move on?
The context of Jesus’s words is not even remotely close to dealing with one person raping another. Jesus said,
“Even if your brother wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, forgive him.” (Luke 17:4)
Jesus wasn’t being literal. He wasn’t advocating a 7-time forgiveness, but it you get to number 8 you’re free to withhold forgiveness. Jesus was trying to teach people about a character issue – are we willing to be people of forgiveness when people who wrong us repent and seek forgiveness. Jesus wasn’t talking about legal justice.
And Brock Turner has never repented or asked for forgiveness. He’s given excuses – he had too much to drink. There is no ownership or responsibility. There is no repentance. All we need here is justice. And the Bible is not short on discussing justice.
- To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.(Proverbs 21:3)
- When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. (Proverbs 21:15)
- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
- Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.(Isaiah 1:17)
- For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4)
That’s just a few. We ought to be pursuing justice against evil people who wreak havoc on the lives of the innocent. This man Turner should not be allowed to escape justice for ANY reason. I tend to hold more to the thinking of the Psalmist who, when contemplating Israel’s enemies, blesses those who dash the heads of the enemy’s babies against the rocks.
Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock! (Psalm 137:7-9)
So I confess openly that I wrestle with developing a heart of forgiveness and seeing this evil man suffer. I know that, as a society, we must do better to protect people from assault and to pursue REAL justice against the evil people who perpetrate it on others.
What do you think? How do you feel about forgiveness vs. justice? Just keep your comments polite towards each other, even in disagreement.