"An Appropriate Punishment"
April 24, 2014
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
South Euclid, Ohio, has a municipal court judge who believes an individual's punishment ought to fit his crime.
Case in point: the case of a 62-year-old man from that community who was found guilty of picking on his neighbors who had adopted two ethnic, developmentally challenged children. The man, whose name I am not sharing, would regularly and consistently
1. shine a spotlight at the neighbor's house at three in the morning and thereby disturb their sleep;
2. play loud music to disturb his neighbors;
3. publicly shout out a racial epithet to describe one of the parents.
(Pastor's note: If you have delicate sensibilities or are reading this devo with children, please omit the next point.)
4. He also shoveled dog excrement onto the car of one of the children's caretakers.
As punishment, Judge Gayle Williams-Byers ordered the man to spend 15 days in jail, 7 months on probation, do 100 hours of community service, take anger management classes, and stand outside on Sunday for five hours with a sign that reads: "I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in."
The idea of the perpetrator getting a bit of his own medicine seemed like a pretty good idea. Then I began to think what would my life be like if the Lord did that to me?
The thought was chilling! After all, as sinners, we are guilty of countless transgressions. Take a look at any day from your life and you will see you have managed to break most of God's commandments -- and done so numerous times.
If the Lord punished us for each misdeed, we could look forward to an eternity in hell.
Thankfully, God, along with being a just Judge, also is gracious and merciful. Yes, Someone had to be punished for our wrongs, but the Lord didn't want that person to be us. So that we might be forgiven of our many misdeeds, the Lord sent His Son into this world to be our supreme Substitute.
With Jesus' coming, the Innocent died for the guilty, and the One who had been outraged at your sin was punished for those who had committed the crime.
Now, because of what Jesus has done, all who believe on Him are forgiven of their sins and free to live a life of thanksgiving and praise.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, with humility and sorrow I confess my many sins. At the same time I rejoice that in Jesus, and through His sacrifice, I am forgiven and declared innocent of wrongdoing. May I share that Savior with others. In His Name. Amen.
Click below to hear about LHM's 2014 Outreach Conference ~ SENT, July 24-27, in Detroit.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries