This week the trial of Casey Anthony was concluded. The verdict: “Not Guilty”. The uproar over this result is loud and sweeping. The passionate upset and debate have been likened to the acquittal of OJ Simpson who was also acquitted of murder. It is a case study of the human condition, of mass pressure, emotion and response.
On one hand we in the United States place a great value upon justice and the rule of law. We cry out for it. We demand it. We expect it and defend it. The concept of justice we consider essential to the wellbeing of self and society. Especially in the care of children, even in prisons the lowest regarded are those who harm our young. This value expectation and hope is good.
On the other hand there are times when our perceptions of justice are skewed. Sometimes passion drives us more than reason. Sometimes emotion is more important than fact. We face a danger that in our pursuit of noble justice we may run over it in a headlong rush to satisfy our passions, judgments, or perception of justice that may or may not be accurate.
How many times have we questioned our leaders, our courts and juries about the decisions they make and the actions they take? How many times have we allowed the media or the plethora of commentators determine our opinions for us? How many times have we taken positions with less than all the available facts in our knowledge base? Who was it that said “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”? Only the jury knows what happened in their deliberations. There seems to be a presumption of guilt and a will to undermine our judicial system, mistrusting the jury and process. There is a dangerous presumption of guilt.
The challenge for Christ followers is not to get swept up in the fervor, to mediate the passion and to be faithful at all times, when things go our way, and especially when they don’t. Our judicial system and until recent times our society is based upon another principle that stands beside our value for justice. That value is “innocent until proven guilty”. Our forefathers felt it best that we let a few guilty go free rather than wrongly convict or penalize the innocent. People of good sense and faithful heart need to be advisors of wisdom and guidance to moderation and balance of values. It is up to the faithful to help prevent the society running headlong into chaos. Today one’s character may be challenged in the in the court of public opinion that person can be ruined for life. Has anyone considered what happens for the rest of their lives? Does anyone consider the witness they make in their passion and outburst?
There is a need for us to trust God with the true and pure upholding of justice accountability and compassion. There is a call for us to be civil with one another always and everywhere and not to lose control of our emotions, our actions, or our good sense. What is true is this, we will not always agree with what happens. We will not like every decision. But we are always and everywhere on display. Our words and actions reveal the truth of our being and values to all who observe us. Perhaps we should take care before we bluster about. Maybe we should remember our values before we challenge. And it might be a good idea to gather all the information we can from all sides before we decide?