There is a longing in us for justice.
We hear that 2-year-old Caylee Anthony is missing and later found dead and decomposing in a swamp and we want justice for her. We want someone to pay. Many of us think we know what happened. We are pretty sure that her mother is involved. But our justice system seemingly has let us down. We wind up with far more questions than answers. The little girl is dead and no one is accountable. Many of us feel ripped off. The longing for justice remains unsatisfied.
So where do people go when they feel robbed of justice?
It is a hard question to answer in the middle of heightened emotional reaction. Can we turn to the very courts we think have failed us and find someone else to blame? Can we take perceived justice into our own hands and act as vigilantes? Do we simply bemoan the fact that sometimes obviously guilty people go free?
The problem is that we don’t really know what happened to Caylee. We only think we do. We think of all the cute little 2-year-olds we know and imagine them in that scenario and our sense of justice begins to override the facts. We hear what we want to hear and fill in what we need so that we can create a monster. We need to create a monster because deep inside we fear what we might be capable of if the circumstances were different than they are. We want to depersonalize justice lest it strike too close to home. If we could just make all the monsters go away, we think, then life would be fair and good. But 2-year-olds will be found in trash bags again. New monsters will rise up to take the place of the old ones. We find that we perpetually cry out for justice because we perpetually need it.
It is a funny thing about justice that we want others to receive it when they do bad stuff, but we seldom, if ever, want it for ourselves. I can always justify why I speed. I was on my way to visit a friend in the hospital. There were no cars on the road for me to place in danger. I am a really good driver and am safer than others. Most of the time what we are searching for is not justice, but mercy. If we truly wanted justice we would stop by the police station and insist that they give us a speeding ticket every time we went a few miles per hour over the speed limit. It seems that part of our sinful nature is to want only mercy for ourselves and justice for the sins of others.
In our broken world, we have broken justice. We are too broken ourselves to even begin to fix it. When justice is meted out at all, it is a tribute to the overwhelming grace of God. God knew Caylee Anthony because he made her. God knows Caylee’s mother, Casey, because he formed her in the womb. God knows all the facts of the case. He alone knows what really happened and how it happened and when it happened. He knows the hearts of the victims and the culprits alike. He alone knows the truth and he alone will mete out justice.
It is hard for us to sit and wait for him, but justice will come for Caylee. It will come either through God punishing the perpetrator or perpetrators for the crime or by Jesus having taken on the horrific debt and satisfying it before a just and righteous God. Not only is God perfectly just, he is also perfectly merciful and loving to all he has made. May God be merciful to all involved in the death of Caylee. May God be merciful to you and to me.
(Photo courtesy of/Wikimedia Commons.)