Dear Friends, thanks for joining me for my Christian short story, “Give Him Justice!” Christians should be the first people to celebrate justice being served. After all, God paid out the wrath upon His own Son, the wrath that we justly deserved. Remembering that kind of justice, and the Justifier who loves to show grace and mercy, I wonder what kind of justice-seekers we’ll be as our nation erupts in condemnation and offense toward various people groups.
In my novella, Steadfast Book Four, America’s Last Days, I offer a small picture of what a Christian’s approach might be when crimes are committed against neighbors in the absence of governing authorities. Now, here’s a story about a murderer, a petition for his death, and a married couple caught in the grip of doing God’s will. Let’s listen in. See you on the next page!—David Telbat
“Give Him Justice!”
by D.I. Telbat
Anton Wallace recognized the signs of his wife’s frustration. He leaned back from his laptop at the dining table and watched her scrub the same spot on the kitchen counter for a couple minutes. With the kids gone to bed and the night closing in, it was a perfect time to talk.
“Rosalyn?” he said softly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She frowned, then looked down at her dish cloth.
“You know me too well.” She sighed. “I just don’t know what to do.” She shook her head and draped the cloth on the side of the sink. “I never thought we had to take sides on this kind of stuff.”
“Are you referring to the murder down the block?”
“Yeah. Susan Curtiss is circulating a petition for the courts. She wants the whole neighborhood to push for the death penalty for Gloria Delan’s murderer.”
“And you’re uncomfortable with that?”
“That’s just it. I don’t know.” She sat at the table across from him and fidgeted with her wedding ring. “I don’t know what’s right in this situation.”
“Doing what’s right according to the courts, or what’s right biblically? They aren’t always the same.”
“We’re Christians, so, biblically.”
“Doing what’s right biblically won’t make you very popular in the community, especially in civil and social matters.”
“So, I sign the petition? I don’t understand. Does God want the man to die for what he did?”
“Let’s consider the facts.” Anton closed the laptop and folded his hands. “Are we certain they caught Gloria Delan’s murderer? I mean, is he definitely the right guy they’re holding in the county jail?”
“The evidence seems to indicate that.”
“Okay, so civilly, in the eyes of the world’s government, we can conclude the state has a responsibility to hand down a just sentence. Genesis chapter nine says blood for blood. The Mosaic Law condemns a murderer to death. All that’s left is for a judge to listen to your friend Susan and pound his gavel, right?” He smiled at her.
“You bundled up the issue in a nice little package that might seem correct.” She drummed her fingers on the table. “Okay, you’ve given me the side that demands justice. But as Christians, aren’t we on the side that demands mercy?”
“Granting mercy isn’t void of justice, Rosa.” Anton’s eyes strayed to his Bible in his briefcase. His mind flipped through its pages. “God shows you and me grace. Is justice missing?”
“No, instead of God placing His wrath on us, He placed it upon His Son. Justice is served.”
“Do you think that’s an offer God makes to everyone, or just toward those of us who don’t commit heinous crimes?”
“We all have heinous passions and thoughts, so we’re all the same.” Rosalyn wagged a finger at him. “See? I’m listening on Sundays.”
“So, does Gloria’s murderer deserve mercy?”
“No, he doesn’t deserve mercy. He needs mercy. That’s what grace is for. None of us deserves it; that’s why we all need it.”
“Interesting.” Anton narrowed his eyes. “I think we’re getting to something here.”
“Okay, keep going.”
“All right. On one hand, we have God instituting the death penalty for the act of murder, then later He teaches us that we’re all murderers in thought, if not in deed. And on the other hand, we have the offer of mercy, which can be received by faith. God has shown us grace, and He has taken the penalty for our sins upon Himself.”
“Uh, so we’re all guilty, and we all need grace. I think you just summed up the first half of Romans.” Rosalyn tilted her head. “How does this help me decide about Susan’s petition?”
“Well, wait a minute. You’re admitting that your sins against God resemble a murderer’s sin, according to Matthew chapter five. Is Susan in the same boat?”
“According to Romans, yeah, but she doesn’t believe the Bible.”
“But you do. And when you learned from God’s Word that you deserve physical and eternal death for your individual sins, what did that do to you?”
“I was afraid. I didn’t want to die. Oh, I see. The holy standards of the Old Testament were teaching me about my need for grace and Jesus Christ. That’s in Galatians chapter three.”
“Good. But remember, the holy standards of the Old Testament remain holy standards today in this New Testament age. It’s just that now we should have learned that we’re powerless to live up to that standard of holiness. Because of the Law, we learned we’re unable to justify ourselves.”
“We need Someone else to justify us, or we’re all doomed.” Rosalyn sat back in her chair and crossed her arms. “We want grace from God, but we don’t want it for others when we’re offended by their crimes.”
“That’s usually because we humans pride ourselves in our own ideas of righteousness, but we forget we have a tendency to be self-righteous. And being self-righteous will always lead right back to unrighteous deeds. That’s a summary of Galatians.”
“So, we show grace to this murderer?”
“Well, we show him love, and share the gospel of grace with him. He may reject it, but as Christians, that’s our first obligation. After all, who am I to condemn him if I am, or once was, just as condemned? Out of love, we offer him what has been offered to us. Otherwise, we’re like Jonah, refusing to offer to sinners what we ourselves have received. That’s real bigotry.”
“Then no one is worthy to judge this murderer?”
“I’ve heard that God is a pretty good Judge of people.” Anton smiled. “But you’re talking about a human judge. Well, whether they are worthy or not, people will step up to judge him. God instituted human government to keep sin in check, as Romans chapter thirteen says. The laws in all nations are meant to bring fear to the criminally-minded. But those of us who have received grace—which is favor from God that we don’t deserve—perhaps we have a different plan other than death for a fellow sinner. Even if the man is a horrible crook or an enemy, what can I offer him?”
“Ah. Life. Can you imagine a neighborhood instigating a petition to allow our community to come into the prison to plead with that murderer to repent?”
“Even if he did repent, they might still execute him.”
“True, but at least we’ve saved a soul unto eternal life. Right now, it sounds like the community is only focused on seeing a man die in his sins and perish in hell for eternity.”
“But the Christian’s goal is to see that man born again.” Rosalyn stared at the ceiling. “That’s not easy when everyone wants blood.”
“If we spent half the energy in loving sinners as we do in hating them, this world—and our own community—would be a different place, especially if we made the effort before such crimes were committed.”
“You’re right.” Rosalyn sighed. “This isn’t going to make me popular.”
“We’re right back to the woman caught in adultery. We are, or once were, just as guilty as the woman. The crowd wants her to die, but no one wants to throw the first stone.”
“I think Susan wants us as a community to throw the first stone.”
“Well, we’re no better than Susan, either, but maybe we can choose a different path.”
Anton opened his laptop.
“Uh-oh.” Rosalyn buried her face in her hands. “What have I started? Please don’t tell me you’re going to start a counter petition. I’ll just die if you do!”
“No, nothing like that.” He turned the laptop screen toward her. “This.”
“The county jail visiting hours? Seriously? We visit the guy?”
“Does it sound like anyone else is going to? He desperately needs the gospel, like we all do.”
“Just a minute.” Rosalyn shook her head as tears welled up in her eyes. She held up her phone. “I have the man’s name right here. This is better than a petition, but scarier.”
“Careful, honey.” Anton chuckled. “If we walk into that jail to show this man Christ’s love, they might just have a petition circulating against us next.”
“But for a murderer to come to Christ?” Rosalyn shrugged. “It’ll be worth it!”
~The End of Christian Short Story, “Give Him Justice!”~
NOTE #1: Thanks to Kara of The Fiction with Faith Daily online newspaper for featuring David’s article from Sept 18, 2017, “What Christians Should Expect in America.” You can read it here in her newspaper.
NEWS #1! Steadfast Book Four now has a NEW COVER and a NEW DESCRIPTION! This novella is going through the final editing phase and we hope to have it to you in the next two-three weeks. UPDATE: Steadfast Book Four is NOW OUT on AMAZON! Click the title to find the direct retailer link!
NEWS #2! Tears in the Wind: Where Christians Dare, Book Two of The Leeward Set, also has a NEW COVER and NEW DESCRIPTION! Click the title to check it out! Tears has begun the editing phase. Subscribe to get the news as it’s available!
Prayer Prompt: Let’s continue to pray for those suffering for their faith around the world. On VOM Radio, listen to the testimony of Petr Jasek, who was imprisoned for over a year in a Sudanese prison. (Three parts: Pt1 – Mar 17, 2017; Pt2 – Mar 24, 2017; Pt3 – Mar 31, 2017.)