The Law: Administering Justice OR Perverting It
Published on March 18, 2011
The law is defined as: The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority: a legal system. The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system.
Justice is one of the key things concerning the law. Justice means the principle of moral rightness, equity, the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards or law.
But let me be clear as to who I’m referring to as law: judges, DA’s and police officers. Yes, the same people we are commanded to submit to in the scriptures being that they are our authority and all authority is established by God. My concern is this, though these individuals have the authority, duty and privilege to administer justice, are they seeing that justice is met or are they perverting it? Are they administering justice or injustice?
Let’s look at Police Officers for example who are sworn in with a oath to protect and serve, to respect the rights of others, to carry their job out in integrity, to be honest, courteous and regard the welfare of others. Is this what we encounter in dealing with Police Officers, the ones who are to serve and protect? I remember being 16 or 17 years old and being searched by two NYPD officers to pulled out a 38 Smith and Wesson and stuck it in my pocket only to pull it out and say, “look what we found on you.” This scared the living daylights out of me (Especially because I was out on bail for a gun charge at the time.) but they then began to laugh at me when they saw how scared I was. I didn’t find that funny or honorable as an unbeliever who didn’t care about the law, let alone as a Christian who submits to it.
As I’ve now been walking with Christ, God allowed me to meet a brother who was a police officer who God used in a mighty way in my life. Through this brother God showed me how I was still operating in an un-renewed mind concerning my views towards Police officers. He gave me hope through this brother that there are officers out there who do their job with honor. But this example is one good one out of many bad ones. This brother would tell me how, as he would arrest someone, he would witness to them. You see as a Christian he had the right perspective, sin was the issue that caused people to do the things they do and only Jesus would be able to free them from that. He would tell me how his partners would always tell him to “stop speaking to that trash, they will never change – they can’t change. They’re animals and all kinds of other things”. Since befriending this brother I have gotten to meet 5-6 other Christian officers and I’m sad to say that these brothers are nothing like he was. A few weeks ago in my city we had a young kid murdered by another young man. Two lives gone that will never be gotten back and one of these officers had the audacity to say that he was glad it happened to them. That isn’t too Christ like to me and it isn’t even honorable for a police officer to say.
Now, I am not trying to hold all police officers to a Christian standard being that they all are not. I do believe they should be held to the standard of their oath and of their duty. So when officers intentionally lie to people or coerce people to confess to something or to tell on someone is this really justice? If I’m the criminal and lying and the one who is suppose to uphold the law is using drastic measures like coercion just to get what they want are they not just as much in the wrong?
Take note, I am in no way saying that criminals should be allowed to get away with breaking the law. There are laws that have been set in place and the breaking of these laws carry consequences (some very stern ones), but is it OK to manipulate people to carry that out? The same officer who said he was happy about the boy being killed and the other going to prison for life, admitted to taking a manipulation class to learn how to play with peoples’ minds in order to have them do or say what he needs them to. This doesn’t sound like justice to me.
Let’s look at the court system for a minute. I recently went with a young man to court as a support. He was being taken to court for back child support that he owed. He was about 1200 dollars behind. He was 2000 behind a month before, but he had started working and was knocking it down at a good speed. As we sat in the courtroom I sat and watched the representative for child support enforcement hurl accusations and insults with malice as he tried with all his power to get the judge to lock the guy up. As the young man’s lawyer (legal-aid) just sat by and didn’t defend him as he should have. What about the 800 he paid within the last month? What about him having to pay bills to keep a roof over his families head? None of it matters. So they suspended his driver’s license completely and gave him a few months to get it all paid or they would lock him up. This was unfair and I took his lawyer to the side to speak with him.
You see them suspending his license was understandable, the injustice was, why didn’t they give him a restricted license so he can still get to work. You see there is no bus system where he lives that will get him back and forth to work, and unless he drives he doesn’t have a way to work. It’s a catch 22 – if he abides by the suspended license then he can’t get to work and thus he will go to jail in a few months. If he continues to drive, he runs the risk of being pulled over and racking up more fines to be paid and possible jail time. It’s like shooting a man in the foot and then trying to make him walk! The lawyers’ attitude was very nasty and disrespectful. He basically said I don’t care it’s not my problem. He went on to say, “maybe he should move” (as if it’s that easy to get out of a lease and just up and move), then he said, “ You take him to work since you care so much it’s not my problem, I took care of my kids.” For someone who never walked in this kids shoes and probably couldn’t, that was very a very arrogant thing to say and I believe it was wrong. So my response was, “God will judge you for that.” And he got very mad but that was ok.
Was that justice? Was it fair? I can’t see how that is fair in any kind of way honestly speaking. What would have been fair for him? Suspend his license? Yes, but give him a restriction to drive to and from work so he can earn money to get caught up and stay caught up. The problem here was this: they looked at him through a stereotype. Like he was like every other dead beat good for nothing which is how they view most.
I said at the beginning that justice is the principle of moral rightness, equity, the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards or law. But all too often our legal system (as well as others) perverts the justice that they have sworn to uphold. They lay burdens on others that they wouldn’t dare do and couldn’t do! Does that sound familiar? I do believe that there are judges, DA’s and police officers out there who really uphold justice and pursue righteousness in their profession, I just pray that this will become more prevalent. My encouragement is that we pray for our government and leadership as scripture commands us to. I also encourage us (myself and you) to pray for us (the people) that our hearts would be right and pure before God where this is concerned.
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