A recent article in the metro newspaper brought to my attention the abuse of official credit cards by a large number of police officers. For a few days after the article was published the letters page was full of indignant contributions from readers, appalled at the news that most of the officers involved would not be disciplined, but given more training. The story brought to the fore the strong sense of justice clearly felt by the metro’s readers (who all conveniently ignored the facts that all the officers who broke the law are being prosecuted, and the ones being given training have either paid back the money, or were justified in making their purchase but should have followed a different procedure).
Even though laws were not broken, it was felt that the officers had behaved wrongly and should therefore be punished. We have all, as people, done wrong, breaking God’s laws. Despite this, many people don’t think they deserve any punishment from Him. We are happy to point the finger at others and highlight their wrongdoing while defending our own. Trevor Carlisle, the pastor of the church I am part of in Reading, often uses the example of left over food to demonstrate this point. My left over food is merely a few chips I didn’t want, but someone else’s is a disgusting mess of vile rubbish they couldn’t be bothered to eat. We love to point out the error of others, but not of ourselves.
God does not do this. He is an impartial judge, and will not turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter how small the crime. It doesn’t matter how important the culprit. All are equally culpable before God, and will be punished. Unless, of course, the punishment has already been taken.
Further reading on the theme of justice, from one of my favourite blogs: http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2009/08/eye-for-tooth.html