May 28, 2013
Protecting society and serving those on the outside have always been in tension, as you note in comparing OT leper regulations with modern sex offender laws. In our modern setting regarding those convicted of sex offenses, the answer is not immediate full integration with society as that does not address the need to protect our most vulnerable members.
Serving those on the outside, reaching out to the margins, that is where Jesus wants his kingdom people to stretch themselves. That's where Jesus went himself, telling everyone they had a place in his kingdom whether they fit into contemporary society or not. But Jesus did not bring the lepers into that society until he healed them and made them acceptable to the authorities.
As I said, it's a tension-filled circumstance. that makes it difficult for God's people to navigate. Difficult is not the same as impossible, though. Jesus showed us where to go, and he gave us his Spirit to empower us to follow him there.
Tim, your insight is sincerely appreciated. This tension is exactly the sticking point where grace and prudence intersect, and it's extremely difficult to know what the soundest Christian position is. But for what it's worth, I personally agree with your comments. I think that an appropriate, Christ-like ministry to sex offenders would not naively restore them wholesale without reasonable expectations for demonstrating repentance and accountability and a willingness to submit to treatment and surrender certain privileges for the sake of protecting others. But the point I really wanted to draw out in this piece is that a true Christian witness to restoration DOES advocate and reinforce, in my opinion, the immediate, full restoration of the personal WORTH of the sex offender as a full citizen in the heavenly kingdom. Aye, but there's the rub: how do we demonstrate that kind of radical grace while simultaneously exercising prudential restraint in order to protect the vulnerable?
Thanks for your comment, Tim. As always, your words take things to another level!
There are so many different kind of offenders, and while it's easy for people looking in to lump them together, it really isn't that easy.
I know that my offender could have done a lot better had he been able to have access to a community like this. Instead he has dealt with drug addiction for over 15 years and is on his way to prison yet again.
Had he been shown love, it could have not only helped him, but others he hurt.
Sex offenders, convicted with proper witnesses, must be put to death. Anything else is a failure to love God and love your neighbors.
Questions to be considered: Where does churches stand on getting rid of the sex offender registry? We are told to obey the laws of the land but after someone has paid their debt is it not evil to keep adding punitive measures after the fact? If so then shouldn’t the church stand against such evil? Anointing comes not just from doing good for others but standing against evil Prv. 16:25 (…ways that seems right but are evil). If the Church refuses to stand against these fundamental wrongs how can they expect anointing and growth to take place? The Lord’s view on who’s a sex offender is anyone that looks upon a woman in lust has committed adultery already in their hearts. With that standard in mind how many sex offenders attend your church? Your argument might be well we are under Grace and forgiven those transgressions. Really? Then doesn’t His Grace reach as far as those being wrongfully punished after they have paid their debt to society? You might also say well those are consequences of their sin/crimes. What are the consequences to the church for not Abiding in Christ and walking as he did in the Earth? Lost anointing and spiritual growth perhaps? How did God’s Grace (through Jesus) handle the adulteress (Sex Offender) that was sentenced (by law) to death? Are you refusing Christ and His example by not showing equal compassion for those that have paid their debt to society? Where does this kind of harm stop? Shouldn’t we exercise Christ like compassion and stand against this LIVING DEATH called the sex offender registry? There have been children listed as young as 9 years old on that evil draconian thing. The church needs to stop following the popular dictates of the world and society. While we were yet sinners God sent His only son to die for us. Given the Lord’s example in this regard who are we NOT to stand against the sex offender registry?
Add your comment to join the discussion!