This is Tim’s Article printed in the Evening Leader on June 29, 2020
Here is a word that we have completely forgotten what it means: justification. To be honest, before this word was thrown around by everyone wanting to explain why rules and laws don’t apply to them, this word was actually a Church word. Justification is what Jesus has done for us through His sacrifice on the cross. According to Webster’s dictionary, to justify something means “to show to be right or reasonable.”
In the Christian context, God is the only one who can declare justification. We are holy because God has declared us holy because the penalty of our Sin has been paid by the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. Because the death sentence of Sin was carried out in 33 AD, I have the chance of having God declare me justified or “made right” with Him. This is the gracious gift of our benevolent Father. This is where the concept of justification originated.
But like so many good things, the world has coopted the word justification and now through social movements and online media, we are able to declare our own justification. Now, as long as we satisfy the whims of one political group or another, you can justify your actions no matter what law you are breaking. There was a cop who broke the law in a city and before the legal system has a chance to put that man to a trial for kneeling on the neck of a restrained man, people were justified in taking over of the downtown area of a city almost 1700 miles away. You are upset about what people did hundreds of years ago, so that justifies destroying statues and works of art that are there for the public good to honor what happened in the past including when this country fought a war in the name of freedom for everyone. We even have a situation where a person thinks they heard someone say something they didn’t like and that justifies a physical assault of which a video is posted online to the cheers of the crowd.
I would like to go back to the time when God was the One who justifies because if we don’t, we are going to live in a world filled with fear. If any behavior can be justified based on your own set of criteria, then we have no standard of conduct and we have no reason to trust anyone. If we live in a society where you can break into my house and assault me and rob me blind and its ok as long as you have a justification that you can explain, then we no longer live in a community, we live in chaos.
No matter what your justification is, we can not thrive in a situation where laws only apply some of the time. We are creating a dangerous environment for everyone because anyone seems to be allowed to use any motivation to justify anything they want to do. Where is love of neighbor? Where is respect of life? Where is the principle of decency? Are these concepts jokes these days? We expect to be given love and respect from others but where is the expectation that we are going show this to our fellow human being?
What I see going on in so much of what is happening is just the principle of selfishness. I believe that what is happening is happening because there is the perception of justification. I do not believe the violence and felonies are justified but since there was something that could be defined as an inciting incident, now we can pillage and loot and burn to our hearts content.
Where does all of this stop? The media is simultaneously celebrating the riots while condemning anyone else who wants to go outside (remember COVID-19? It is apparently still a thing). As long as you are a narcissist, you are justified to be out in the streets but if you are a law abiding citizen who wants to go to church, go to work, or take your family out for supper, that can’t be justified.
This is the main reason I want to give right to justify back to God is that He is the only one I trust to have my best interests at heart. For the rest of us, we need to take a long, hard look and see what exceptions to the rules we have justified in our own lives.