[caption id="attachment_223" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo Credit: The Ledger"][/caption]
A local man was freed following a plea-deal on Tuesday, and found dead in his home on Thursday. Long story short, he is said to have bludgeoned the wife of a business colleague to death with a blunt object in 1987. This was a somewhat cold case for years, though Clayton Fivecoat was a suspect in the original investigation.
This blog entry isn't meant to be scientific or investigative in nature, so I digress. What I want to talk about is justice. Not justice of the court (because by the structure of our judicial system, that was achieved), but of the Lord. Some have made the comment that this man's death is God's justice. I have to disagree.
Christ himself said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) When Christ stepped out of eternity to walk the earth as the perfect sacrifice for a fallen world, the game changed a bit. God's judgement is now for the other side of eternity. Not because he can't judge us now- but because he doesn't have to! All along, our Father only wanted our fellowship. But, because of our unholiness, our sin, our choices- we eliminated the possibility for us to have relationship with the Father, within our own efforts. Christ was sent to restore humanity into right relationship with Him. God isn't waiting for "bad" people to die- that's the lie. He is waiting for them to find life. The life that only Christ can offer. Our God is not a mean kid on an anthill with a magnifying glass... He is a loving father who desires to know His children.
If this man is guilty of the crime he was charged with- then he is a murderer. But aren't you also? Aren't I? Those who have held hatred in their hearts are due the same judgement as one who has taken the life of another. (Matthew 5) But the beauty is the redemption! Through Christ we are rescued and redeemed from all our transgressions.
We can't judge the sin of another*- because sin is sin. It is all less-than holy. All sin is other-than perfection. It is other-than God. Clayton Fivecoat was just another fallen human like me. Period. I don't mean to climb on a soapbox with all of this, really. I just know that God is so full of love and grace. The God I serve is one who keeps calling to me, over and over again. These are my thoughts, but scripture is the only authority. I challenge you to read it and form your own perspective.
And... in retaining my soapbox for one more moment- why don't we encourage and pray for those that loved Clayton, rather than rejoice in their loss?
*I want to talk theology just for a brief second... okay, so this was all about theology. Luke 6 is pretty clear: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (emphasis mine)
I want to propose that there is a wide valley of difference that runs between judgment and accountability, condemnation and correction. Just a couple thoughts to remember:
1. You can't expect someone who does not accept your belief system to think, believe, and operate by the "rules" of your religion. Don't judge.
2. We, as fellow Christ followers, have a responsibility to encourage, correct, and sharpen each other's iron (Proverbs 27:17). (IN LOVE)
I know the plank is my eye is always present, but just like the fingerprints and smudges on my windshield... they are easily ignored until the light shines in and hits it.