Being in the prison ministry I am often torn between justice and mercy. I understand both sides of the fence. We all need mercy for the things that we've done. But, also, the knowing inside us when things are done wrong, it begs for justice to be serve upon the one that's done it.
I went to a parole hearing for one of my girls today. I quickly fell in love with her family. They had an impressive look about them. They wore the look of love of their faces. You could see Jesus in their skins. I liked them immediately! Even before I knew that they belonged to the girl that I was there for. I watched them for the two and a half hours before our inmate's name was called, and when they stood up, I wasn't the least bit surprised that they were who I had assumed that they would be.
It was a somber meeting. Their hope for release for their loved one had them suddenly serious and trembling. That kind of cold shaking was instantaneously upon them. That widened-eyed scare smacked over them before they could disguise it and told of their fear. Surely, they were uttering guttural prayers beneath their breathing, begging fervently (one last time) for the favor of our Father upon their loved one. Begging Him for mercy upon their daughter, their niece, their cousin, their friend, their mother. Pleading with God to fill the parole panel with mercy to give her. Pleading for her release...
The defendant's family always goes first. Her lawyer pled for her. Her cousin (who's also a preacher) pled for her. And then, so did her son. Oh my, it was him that turned the attention! Even the parole board was touched by this teenaged child's voice crying out for his mother.
But then, the victim's family, even after almost 17 years, was still ravaged by the murder's violence and its robbery. Two grown daughters of the deceased cried out for vengeance and for justice to be served for their mother. They shared details... still vivid to them as the day that it happened... and it was raw, and real, and ugly, and ravishing.
Murder is mean to everybody!
Murder affects the multitudes.
Murder sours and turns nastily bitter. It changes the look, the attitude, the demeanor, the ongoing mood of the whole person.
Murder hardens the hearts of those left behind and still left breathing.
Murder brings death to so many.
Death to joy. Death to hope. Death to dreams. Death to the direction one's life was going in before it was knocked wrong. Death to security. Death to kindness. Death to the way one once looked at everything. Death.......... to a myriad of so many things.
For both families, I am so sorry for everybody! I'm sorry for the senselessness in it. I'm sorry for the wrong. I'm so sorry to all that was hurt!
Again, it was the children (those on both sides) that haunt me! It brought a whole new meaning to Genesis 4:10 after Cain had killed Abel (""What have you done?" The LORD said, "Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground.")... Listen! The blood cries out! This time, "the blood" that was still being cried out was the victim's blood still running through the veins of the children.
The blood cries out! It still cries out.................................. The blood still demands answers. The blood is still seeking its justice......................
[See also: Listen! His blood still cries.]