I am sad whenever anyone in a position of power and authority abuses that, worse whenever that abuse turns deadly. I am sad whenever anyone, of any color, demonstrates prejudice toward any group, race, ethnicity, or similar common denominator. I am sad whenever anyone tries to commit a crime and get away with it. I am sad whenever anyone resorts to hatred, profanity, and divisive speech, even if venting anger, hurt, and fear. I am sad whenever anyone exerts themselves in contentious and divisive rather than understanding and unifying ways. In essence, I am sad whenever someone does evil and commits sin, but seeks to justify and defend himself or herself in so doing.
Long ago, the Holy Spirit moved Solomon to say, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts” (Prov. 21:2). In nearly identical fashion, he writes, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives” (Prov. 16:2). Sin constantly occurs every moment of every day throughout every community of the world. At times, individuals will freely confess and without making excuse. However, the more common course seems to be what Solomon says. Parents raising children, asking who left something on the floor or who made a mess, hear the all-too-familiar, “Not me!” If one is caught in the act of wrongdoing, he or she may still say, “It’s not my fault,” “I didn’t mean to,” “It’s not what it looks like,” or “you don’t understand.” Perhaps that’s desperate self-preservation. Perhaps it’s an attempt to deflect responsibility and consequence. But, Solomon cuts through the flimsy excuses, realizing God sees with a perfect, unbiased manner and cannot be fooled. We can try to lie to others to try and mitigate or deny our guilt, but He sees all and knows all.
Horrific images out of North Charleston have sickened and scared us! If all is as it very much seems to be, color-blind, occupation-blind justice needs to be done (cf. Rom. 13:1ff). May it serve as an even greater object lesson that transcends race, law enforcement, and the like. When people become their own standard of right and wrong (cf. Jud. 17:6; 21:25), they can tend to justify anything (i.e., abortion, pornography, fornication, etc.) that God deplores. Let us remember the second part of Proverbs 16:2 and 21:2. “The Lord weighs the hearts and motives.” He never gets it wrong!