July 3 Inspiration

From the Desk of Pastor John Hart

What do you see in front of many courthouses around the country? You see a statue of Lady Justice. You know it is Lady Justice because of three things:

  •  First, it’s a statue of a lady.
  •  Second, she’s holding out in front of her a set of scales, which are evenly balanced.
  •  And third, she’s blindfolded.
Blind justice.

That’s the goal of our legal system, that justice should be blind to everything but the facts. The promise of blind justice is that it doesn’t matter who the defendant is or who the plaintiff is—rich or poor, black or white, saint or sinner.

The promise of blind justice is that all of these things will be factored out of all legal decisions, that it will be, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

But if we are the ones sitting at the defense table, I’m not so sure that what we really want is “blind justice”. Because we’re a pretty respectable looking group of people. If I were to find myself as a defendant in a court case, I don’t think I’d be praying for “blind justice”. I think I’d rather have Lady Justice take a peek from behind her blindfold, see what a decent, honest person I am, maybe take into account that the defendant is The Reverend John Hart. But that wouldn’t be blind justice.

So maybe it isn’t justice that we’re looking for after all.

When you read the Bible, you notice that it is full of what we might call “balanced equations”, like this:

           “The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide …. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow …”

But what is even more intriguing about the Bible are those verses which present us with an unbalanced equation.

In 2 Timothy 2, Paul lists four equations—three balanced equations, and one unbalanced equation:

This is a true saying:
If we die with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.
If we deny him, he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.

The first equation three equations are balanced—if we do this, then we will gain that—sacrifice leads to reward.

Then comes the unbalanced equation:

“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful.”It doesn’t read the way we anticipate it to read. We expect it to go like this: “If we are unfaithful, he will not be faithful to us”, because that’s only fair, that’s only right, that’s only just, that’s the way to balance this equation.

But the Gospel is good news because the Gospel isn’t a balanced equation.

God remains faithful to us, even if we are faithless, even when we are faithless. Because unbalanced equations—not blind justice—are the heart of the Christian faith:

  •  that the holy God forgives sinners
  •  that the just God justifies the unjust
  •  that the righteous God is the God of mercy
You see, the good news is that what God has for us is not blind justice but wide-eyed mercy.

Because in front of God stands not “Lady Justice”, but a cross, a cross that proclaims the ultimate unbalanced equation, that, in Jesus Christ, God took our punishment upon Himself so that we might live His life forever.

Pastor John