We left off yesterday in the David Wilkerson saga where David and Miles Hoover were at the court scene where the 7 boys who killed Michael Farmer, a 15 year old polio victim in Highbridge Park, NY. , were being tried.
The self-appointed judge standing next to Wilkerson announced his decision of the trial before the trial even began. Then he continued, and said, "God, I hate those boys", to which Wilkerson responded by saying, "God seems to be the only One who doesn't".
Our justice system tells us to punish wrongdoing. That is good. We would not be civilized if it weren't for that. But it does create a problem for us, because in each one of us, whether we believe it or not, resides the seeds for every kind of evil action that exists.
That doesn't mean we will all be like Hitler. But we do have those seeds in us as well as did Hitler. He just let them blossom in his heart, and the terrible fruit that came from his wicked heart destroyed many, many people.
We have many restraints that keep us from doing evil, even if it is in our hearts. We have the law of the land. We should have the fear of God (but many don't). We all have consciences, though some are weak, and others are seared. Some of us have enough wisdom to know that there are consequences for our actions.
In spite of all the warning systems in us, we still sin. We might not have physically killed someone, but when we hate someone, that hatred is from the same seed that caused Hitler to kill 6 million people, or more.
Does God hate us when we sin? The answer can be complicated. On the one hand, the Bible says that 'while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us'. In another place, it tells us that God is angry at the wicked every day. It also says that the wicked are turned into hell. So, what gives?
Really, it comes down to our hearts wanting to repent. Repentance is not just saying a prayer or telling God you are sorry for your sins. It is much more than that.
There are some people who are so trapped by their sins. If you were to ask them if they want a way out of the mess they are in, they would definitely want it, at all costs. These people are desperate for an answer, not only for the forgiveness of their sins (so they can go to heaven when they die), but, to be set free from their sins so they don't have to continue in them.
Sin is like an addiction. The Bible says that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. It also says that whoever the Son sets free is free indeed. That is the best news for all of us. However, most of us do not see ourselves as slaves of sin or addicted to sin. We see ourselves as basically good people and that camouflages our need for a Savior.
Prisoners and gangsters don't have that kind of problem. They do not see themselves as good people. They know they are bad. But even some people who are not prisoners know that they themselves are bad. Those are the people who can be helped best.
One time, I watched a show with some prisoners who were rapists. As they were being interviewed, they were helping women to learn how to be protected from men like themselves. Unless they were set free by the Lord, when and if they get out of prison, the temptation to rape will still be there. They may have daughters who they want to be protected, and will go through all lengths to protect them, but the temptation for raping will still be there. They need to be set free. Many do really want to be set free.
The gangsters who killed Michael Farmer were never contacted by Wilkerson, but David Wilkerson met other gangsters who gladly heard the Gospel. Many of these gangsters were involved in murder. They were bored, unloved, and lonely, trying to find relationships and meaning in life, but were doing it in a bad way. God loved those gangsters and many came to Christ when they heard the Gospel message.
Two gang leaders and their warlords were kneeling in repentance to God for what they were doing. Another gang leader tried to lead his gang into responding to the Gospel by going forward to be ministered to. These gang leaders humbled themselves and cried. They cried out to God. God met them where they were at.
One of the biggest, meanest, most terrifying gang leader who came to Christ was Nicky Cruz. If you ever get a chance, find him on Youtube. He was one of the most unlikely people to ever respond to the Gospel. He even wanted to kill David Wilkerson at one time!
Yes, God loved those gangsters. Jesus died to save them, not only for heaven, but even for now. They were set free from heroin addiction and all the other things that they were involved in.
But what if we said to ourselves, look at what the gangsters had done? Look at who they killed? They did so much damage. They need to pay for their crimes! Where is the justice?
Let's look at John 8 where a group of religious people bring a woman who was committing adultery and caught in the act. They bring the woman to be stoned? Where was the guy she was with? Why should he have gotten away with committing adultery and why should she have been punished? Partly because we have a warped justice system inside us. We judge and condemn who we want to, and we let go whoever we want to.
They bring the woman to Jesus and expect Him to begin the stoning process, which He did. He gave instruction on the first person who was without sin to cast the first stone. Amazingly, no one cast the first stone. In fact, they all disappeared. Then Jesus said something remarkable. He told her 2 things. One of them was that she was free to go, and the other was that she was to sin no more.
We still ask, where is the justice? Isn't God black and white? You have to bring the mercy of God into this equation. That is what we don't understand, and what we, if we are honest, don't really want, at least for some people. We want them to be punished for their crimes.
So, does God condone sin? Of course not. He takes pity on us because we are slaves of sin. We didn't ask to be that way, but that is the way it is. We don't have to stay that way, and we can be totally free from sin's slavery if we really want to be.
Why am I writing all this? It has to do with a current event going on today. You may have already made the correlation. A young man named Josh Duggar is being slammed by the media today. Josh Duggar did a terrible sin when he was 14. The sin continued for a while. The parents were made aware, and they sent him away. They also received help and counseling, etc. They seemed to do the best with whatever knowledge that they had at that time.
Josh Duggar, from listening to his statements, appears to have repented. You and I know that eventually there will be fruit from our repentance. Only God knows if we truly have repented, and sometimes it takes time for us to respond.
I think there are some concrete facts concerning this issue, and I think there are some assumed facts that probably aren't accurate. The media and bloggers are having a heyday with all this. Ungodly people will stretch this situation and construe their own twisted version of it. They can get on the Internet and publish whatever they write.
Whatever your take is on this situation, please consider a few things. Listen to both sides of the story. Don't just assume you know the other position. Be careful of listening to angry people who post on the Internet. There are some who have been sexually abused and have never had resolution concerning what happened to them. This is terrible and very sad. But, this issue is triggering memories that have caused a lot of pain, and their way of resolving it is to send the accused person to prison and make sure justice is served. In their minds, Josh Duggar should be made to pay the fullest penalty for his crime 10+ years ago. They are sure his sisters and any others involved are suffering at his hands. They will consider this family evil, and impostors at best.
Did Josh Duggar truly repent? I don't know. But if he did, we better be sure to forgive him and let him work through his repentance.
Are we so sure that he is faking his repentance? People have done that before, especially in prison, in order to get out sooner. They put on their best behavior and make a profession of faith in order to be able to be out of prison. But that is not everyone's story. Some actually come to Christ and are radically saved! We need to be careful to not judge and decide that someone hasn't repented. We are the ones who will be held accountable for harboring bitterness and hatred.
Do we even want Josh Duggar to be forgiven? Many of us act like we don't. We want to make sure 'justice is served' whatever that means.
And keep in mind that this situation involves a 14 year old boy, fondling his sisters, not a 45 year old rapist holding women hostage and using them for his sexual pleasures. There is a big difference in that, even though we want to treat the once 14 year old as if he were a skilled rapist or perpetrator.