From chapter 9 of ‘Whole Bible Christianity’
Our ninth guideline is where quite a few people falter in spectacular fashion. We jump to a conclusion based on what little we see. Or we react by our own set of laws instead of God’s. This is such a common occurrence now, especially in the church. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that it is a standard part of God’s Word to make a thorough investigation. After all, everyone should have a fair trial before the hanging!
14then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, (Deuteronomy 13:14 NASB95)
18“The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 19:18-19 NASB95)
I’m sure we’ve all experienced a rushed judgment directed at ourselves. We desperately wish that people would give us a chance to explain the circumstances. But they’ve already passed sentence and consigned you or me to the outer darkness for all they care. Sometimes there’s another agenda, such as someone just wanting to get rid of you or smear your reputation. This is another reason people don’t want to have an objective standard around. The standard makes it harder to railroad people.
If I am on the receiving end of this, there’s not much I can do except heave a large sigh of regret and move on. Actually, I’m quite practiced at this by now, because it seems very few people care to investigate thoroughly. But it really frustrates when people are judging you on their own personal criteria not connected with the Word.
A thorough investigation is when facts are gathered, witnesses come forward and we evaluate their testimony. We compare the facts to the Word in order to render an impartial and just verdict. At least, this is what’s supposed to happen. You and I both know how very rare this is in most congregations today.
Our God is a just god, and He expects His people to pursue justice too. But influence pedaling is a major past time. Pastors or rabbis are untouchable. Money is king with a lot of people. Real justice is scarce. Many want to commit the Law to the rubbish heap so they can pursue their agendas unburdened by accountability or humility.
And don’t try to sell me the lame concept that justice and love are separate. People try this all the time. You’ve heard it said (now where have I heard that statement before?) that we should exercise ‘justice in love.’ This is true, except that the two are not separate. Justice is love; love without justice isn’t love.
If we use the Word properly, we are doing both. The reason Jesus had to die is because justice and love both had to be satisfied. One could not be exercised by God without the other. It was a very difficult puzzle for God – how to justify sinners without merely ‘overlooking’ sin. The resolution of this puzzle was the death and resurrection of God in human form. There is such a thing as being too harsh. But that is condemnation, not justice. We condemn when we try to practice justice outside of God’s Word.