Why a Short Sentence for Offenders Cannot be “Enough”

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

[Originally written Jan 1, 2009.]

Just a bit ago I sat down on the sofa with some lunch. When I finished eating I was looking at the stack of books at my feet and thinking about what I need to do to prepare for a seminar I’m leading next week.

The next thing I knew I was reliving something my ex used to do to me on a regular basis. Bang! Just like that, the abuse of yesterday was back in my “today” as fresh as a new experience. Fortunately, Ive been walking this path long enough to know how to deal with it fairly handily and it was a passing blight.

But blight it was, indeed, on an otherwise peaceful day. I’m quite sure he hasn’t had a blight on his day today as a result of how he treated me, since he sees no wrong in it. In fact, no higher authority on this earth has found fault with him for it, though one day his Maker will do so, I know.

Do you think that experience is weird? If you do, that is because you have never been a victim. For victims, that experience was standard fare. Of course! That was nothing! PTSD flashbacks are way worse than that! Which I also know because I’ve had those as well.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping brings consequences that are in balance with causative actions. Supposedly, this is what justice should look like. The Law of Sowing and Reaping was established by God at the dawn of time. It pre-exists the Law of Moses and was not superceded by the Law of Grace. It is a law of nature and of God. It is universal and timeless.

When the church and the law give offenders an easy pass on the consequences of their deeds, they tell God His Law of Sowing and Reaping is no longer valid. Our way is better than His. We know better than God. Back again to the sin of idolatry.

It is too bad that the church and the law cannot so easily erase the consequences of the causative actions left behind in the lives of victims. Those victims will experience those causative actions “fresh as today” again and again and again for the rest of their lives. Do you have the faintest idea what a remarkable insult it is for the church and the law to say an offender should have a minimal sentence?

Do you have any idea what a further insult it is for the church to then suggest to victims that it loves them?

What love is this? Certainly not love as Christ modeled it. He paid the ultimate penalty to provide grace, but then we cheapen it by neglecting to understand that grace does not bypass the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

Causative actions which cause permanent results should carry permanent consequences. Is there forgiveness? Certainly. But forgiveness does not erase the law of sowing and reaping – for either the victim or the offender. It merely releases the victim from bitterness and distance in their relationship with God.

Should the church go beyond the law of the land in adding consequences to the offender? Only within the context of the Word. If the Word would bar someone from being a pastor, then this should be honored. Blameless means blameless means blameless – not blameless for the last 3 months or in this county or in this denomination! If the Word allows for a Mt. 18/I Cor. 5 accountability and then excommunication – then we should see some churches stepping up to the plate to excommunicate some adulterers and abusers.

God’s standards of righteousness are not ours to bend to suit our own interpretation. Doing so carries consequences its own. The natural consequences of violating God’s standard of righteousness is that the violated no longer trust the church and leave. How can we be surprised when this occurs? How can we continue in denial of this reality?

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