A rush to judgment...
Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-
the Lord detests them both. Proverbs 17:15
There’s a bad tendency that many of us have, and it’s addressed in no uncertain terms in this passage from Proverbs. In fact, it lets us know that there are two things that God cannot stand. Let’s take acloser look at both of them, but in the reverse order in which they were written.
Condemning the innocent…
Quite often, far too many of us make a rush to judgment. We jump to conclusions before we know all the facts. In our eagerness to be right, or perhaps just to get our voices heard, we voice our opinions or cast a negative vote.
We don’t take the time to take a second look at a situation, or to really consider the consequences of the charges that we’re leveling, or the individual that we’re leveling them at.
Sometimes, the wrongness of our actions is escalated to a “nutha-whole-level.” On occasion, our condemnation of an individual has nothing to do with issue itself. Sometimes, it’s emotions such as jealousy, envy, or prejudice that serves as a catalyst for our judgments. When that happens, we don’t really want to know the truth, because if we did, we’d be the guilty ones after all was said and done. Just ask the Jewish nation, who unjustly condemned Jesus, and then in a bizarre twist, were unjustly condemned at the hands of the Nazis centuries later.
Acquitting the guilty…
Several years ago, National Football League veteran and Hall of Fame member O.J. Simpson was found “not guilty” on charges that he had viciously and ruthlessly murdered his ex-wife and her boyfriend outside of her home.
The evidence against Simpson was so overwhelming that the majority of the American public, including several so-called “experts,” considered the case to be a slam-dunk for the prosecution. It was a no-brainer. The guy was guilty, and he was gonna pay the price for what he’d done wrong! Or at least that’s what a lot of people thought.
Guess what? A jury of his peers found him to be innocent.
Our country was immediately divided, predominantly upon racial lines. One side felt as if O.J. had gotten away with murder, while the other side considered it to be a travesty that he had been charged at all. What should have been an issue about right and wrong became an issue about black and white.
The real problem was that both sides made a rush to judgment. One side was ready to convict O.J. for what he did, and the other was going to defend him, regardless.
As unfair as this seems, we, unfortunately do the same thing all the time. We’re quick to condemn when we’re ready to, but just as quickly we’ll defend someone or turn a blind eye to their actions if they happen to be on our list of favorite people.
Is that fair? Not hardly. But at the end of the day, it’s not for us to truly judge the heart or actions of any man.
We have to leave that up to God.