There is so much to say on the subject, but I had an incredible reminder of God's faithfulness this week.
We have been praying our sister's brother in-law, John. Details withstanding, he was taken to jail for being involved in a fatal hit and run traffic accident involving multiple vehicles. The kicker in the story is that this took place in Senegal, where there are some differing standards of due process, investigation, and law enforcement. After 6 days of waiting in jail, he was determined by the state prosecutor to be innocent and the pending charges were dropped.
This video is of his homecoming to the international community in which he and his family live and work:
What this brings up in me is an image of God's justice. Not a punitive picture that is deducting from our souls what little we have left, but one who restores back to right, who sees clearly enough to see where we have deceived ourselves and strayed from who were created to be. Even in justice, God's grace and generosity reign supreme, as he renews us into the image of Jesus. Each person is a complex equation of inheritance, experience, and indulgence, but God sees through the layers and understands us. Even more than simply understanding, he sees all of us and responds in love.
Justice was achieved, not by punishing the one guilty of the hit and run, but also in dealing correctly with the life of other people involved. The image of God that we journey after, the one that we want to love with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, the one that Jesus told us about, we have to be able to trust him to make those decisions about us and to see clearly what is true about us.
We are declared innocent. We are set free. We are welcomed home into the community of freedom whose lifeblood is based in the unbounded grace of God. And this flows from the example of accomplishment of Jesus' death and resurrection.
A word from 2 Corinthians 5:
Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.
How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
Today we celebrate justice with the Van't Land family, Dakar Academy in Senegal, the Wolfe family, and all those brothers and sisters around the world who have been mindful and prayerful concerning John this past week.