Monday, April 22, 2013

Get Him! In Defense of Justice

Alex was all of five years old. Her sibling had done something to her, I don't remember what, and she was scandalized. She pointed up the stairs where the hardened little criminal had disappeared, and she looked at Brett, her eyes blazing fire. "Get him!"
He was 'got.'
And that was the end of that.

I keep waiting for a hero to emerge amid all the gore and the horror and the wickedness of the Kermit Gosnell story.
Maybe a mother who sat up and said, No.
Maybe a co-worker who stepped between him and the baby and said, No.
Maybe a repentant Gosnell who fell to his knees and said, No.

But no. Not one person came forward to defend the children. Every party in that room was a violent aggressor against the life of one defenseless human being.

Put aside for a moment that there were no heroes in that room. Put aside the fact that Gosnell, to be strictly fair, was merely the hired gun. Put aside for a moment this fuzzy sense of right and wrong which divides the aggressors into the Heinous and the Hurting. Put aside for a moment the fact that no one in that room at any time was compelled to be there--no one, that is, except the child.

Put all of this aside because this is as close as I dare get to this line. Put all of this aside because, while few of us know anyone who earns their keep as a hired gun, many of us have friends who have done the hiring. And we are not so naive that we don't understand that for every precious friend who has found repentance and reconciliation, there are ten more who have not.

Put all of this aside and just stick to the facts of the trial straight up:
Kermit Gosnell is the Philadelphia abortionist who is on trial for murdering abortion survivors by snipping the tops of their spinal cords. In other words, he beheaded them.  Babies. He beheaded infants.

Now I'm making the same demand Alex made. Get him!

I only regret that Gosnell has but one life to give.

And that is the travesty of justice here. If justice were swift and sure in this country, Gosnell would have been executed after his first murder. (And let's not quibble over the location of the murder; inside or outside the womb makes no difference to God. As one friend put it, that's merely a matter of geography.) But justice was not swift. And Mr. Gosnell went on to kill who knows how many people.

So let's say I was an optimist. Let's say the judge in the Gosnell trial did not pre-screen jurors to get rid of pro-lifers. (He did.) Let's say this trial is not full of anti-child irony. (It is.) Let's say the jury returns a verdict of guilty (they won't), and the judge gives Gosnell the death penalty. (He won't). He will still only die once. Justice will not be served. But it's what we'll have to settle for. The place, the only virtuous place, where we can rest in all of this is that God is just. He will not be mocked.

But hark! What is that sound? Oh my stars, it's the Mercy Brigade, sounding for all the world like a chorus of frogs. Yeah-but. Yeah-but. Yeah-but. They're the ones who positively twitch when I say, "God is just."
Yeah-but. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Yeah-but. God is merciful.
Yeah-but. While I was still at enmity with God, Christ died for me.
True, all.
And yet, God is just. Let it be. Stop twitching. Add nothing.


King David knew about justice. He and Alex shared much of the same understanding. Here's what the simple five year old and Man-After-God's-Own-Heart both get about justice.
1. There is wickedness in the world which requires a justice that gives no quarter.
2. We do NOT have authority to exact that justice ourselves. (Remember David's stricken conscience when he cut Saul's robe?)
3. Someone does have that authority: our Father.
4. We may appeal to our Father, who will respond because He is just.

Alex said it the way a five year old knows how. "Get him!"
David, the poet-psalmist, was a mite more articulate:
"Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God" (139:19)
"Pour out your indignation upon them, and let Your burning anger overtake them."(69:24)

To be sure, imprecatory prayers must be approached with caution and humility. I admit that I don't trust my indignation and my anger to be purely righteous. I admit I have cried furious tears over this. I admit I have to daily do a heart check. But I also admit that while some of my acquaintance may feel compelled to pray for Mr. Gosnell's heart is just not there yet. I realize I risk what you think of me when I say this. But this is the place where I am right now. When I think of those who are oppressed and in need of mercy in this case, I think of the babies.

And for the sake of the blood of the babies which cries out from the ground for justice, I am praying on their behalf. I will be their voice before the Throne.
"Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me!
Let them be like the chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For without cause, they hid their net for me;
Without cause, they dug a pit for my life.
Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it to his destruction.
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in His salvation.
All my bones shall say, O Lord, who is like You,
delivering the poor, from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?"
(Psalm 35:4-10)
This intercessor prays fervently for her family.
This intercessor prays compassionately for the sick and the hurting.
And sometimes this intercessor prays with a fire in her belly and a blaze in her eye over the wicked.
Kind of like David.

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