And Justice for All

The brutal, unbearable details ignited the ruthless investigation.

Photo by Noclip at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The young victim had made an outcry (the victim’s voice telling what has happened which must be reported by one who hears); his story was dreadfully horrifying.

The family acted immediately, believing the justice system would be exceptionally cautious, especially because the victim was a disabled, intellectually challenged 12-year-old boy. As the investigation proceeded, attorneys, specialists, therapists, medical examiners, and the boy’s school were consulted. And the family’s unspeakable grief was palpable.

There were two full days in court, with testimonies, reports, heckling, and unfounded statements made under oath; the encounter was nothing like the family expected. The judge was confounded and stated that the final judgment would be sent through the attorneys. His gavel knocked on his solid oak desk and everyone was dismissed. A few days later, the decision came: no charges would be filed.

The abusers disappeared. And the victim lives with physical pain and emotional anxiety to this day.

Where was the justice in it all?

And Justice for Whom?

The family still wrestles with grief because there was no closure to their pain.

  • Really, what is “just” or “unjust”?
  • How could the “keepers of the law” honestly believe this was a just and right decision?

After all, let’s remember the words from the Pledge of Allegiance:

. . . and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And Justice for All

(Photo: by Anoko at Dutch Wikipedia. GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

Scripture references “justice” many times. I have in mind one specific outcry for justice from the book of Psalms. The writer of Psalm 13, David, ran for his life for more than ten years.

  • David hid from King Saul in caves, desert lands, rocks, and crevices.
  • David was powerless to stop the mad man, Saul, from his unassailable quest to kill.
  • And God allowed this mad pursuit to occur!

In the midst of one of his many trials, David wrote these penetrating words:

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

LOOK on me and ANSWER, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. (Psalm 13:1–4 NIV, emphasis added)

The One Who Gives Us a Passion for Justice

A deep longing for fairness and justice rests in the heart of every human being. Though we are created in God’s image, we live in a sinful world where injustice and unfairness often have their way.

So how do we endure through the fiery ordeals when injustice prevails? Remember King David who wrote Psalm 13 above? He also offered these words in Psalm 139:23–24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)

Let Me Hear From You

And now, Lord, may we remember Your promises: You are just, You will always be just, and Your timing for Your judgments belong in Your sovereign hands. Search our hearts today.

Have you ever experienced injustice? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Kimberlee

    Colleen, thanks for this great post and your blog as well! I have experienced injustices as well. t’s hard to understand why justice doesn’t always prevail, especially when an innocent 12-year-old boy has to experience firsthand the pain that comes from evil. I really like what you wrote when you said, “You are just, You will always be just, and Your timing for Your judgments belong in Your sovereign hands.” I think that God will judge and make right every injustice, but it’s His timing. We don’t understand the details of why evil is allowed to happen and it is so hard to deal with the aftermath. But I pray and grieve especially for this boy and his family, that they’ll find peace as they turn to the Lord and allow His soverign will to be done. And through this suffering, that God will conform them to His image.

    • Kimberlee,
      WOW, I had no idea you had connected with my blog…what an honor. Yes, it seems the suffering has continued to carve a new depth in this family; especially the mom who did what we would say “everything right”…to have it go wrong on many levels was disillusioning for a long time. However, as you and I both know, God stays with us through it all and that comfort is what gets us through. His timing is right; we are all in the transforming process aren’t we. Have a great day…thanks for your connecting here. Hope we can talk again soon. Colleen

  • Robert Mclaughlin

    YEP EVEN THE JUDGE AND LAWYERS OF THIS CASE WERE INFLICTED WITH A FOOLISH IDEAS EVEN THO THEY CLAIM TO BE WISE. JUST AS WRITTEN IN BIBLE THE WISE BECOME FOOLISH AND AT THE EXPENSIVE OF A PERSON AND OTHERS THAT LOK TO THE COURT PEOPLES TO BE GOD DIRECTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS HAVE GONE AWRY !! DISGUSTING , HOPE THERE IS AN APPEAL ?

  • Ronnie Dauber

    Colleen, I know how painful and unfair the “justice system” can be. I was a court reporter before my car accident and I witnessed many cases of unfairness and unwarranted grief. In fact, one case in particular was so unfair in the final judgment that I had a breakdown and I was reprimanded for it and I was not allowed in that courtroom again. To this day, I can see the tears in the eyes of this particular one who was dealt unjustly and my heart aches for the sorrow that was put on this person. I have to wonder how they survived a judgment that should never have been given, an outcome that literally shocked everyone. Yet, the judge didn’t seem bothered by it at all. A bias judge? I won’t answer that, but I have my opinion.

    • Ronnie,

      I can’t imagine what you were exposed to as a court reporter. To have a Godly heart and mind must have made that work extremely difficult! Sadly, only .2% of those who abuse people with disabilities are ever caught and justly sentenced. First responders are rarely if ever adequately trained to understand people with disabilities but since the number of those with autism and invisible challenges along with mental health disorders continues to grow, some….very few but some…counties are beginning to incorporate training into their mandatory training. We have so far to go and to think of those who are victimized again and again and again breaks my heart. But, God remains faithful and good even though our world is filled with evil. Don’t you understand the apostle Paul’s words regarding his longing to be with Christ in heaven!
      I know this family and they have come a long way since this experience. Their faith was tested beyond belief but it also grew in them a steadfast character, humility, and a spirit of resilience that is amazing. We also saw how closely God walks with those who wrestle deeply with things in this life we don’t understand. Thanks for your honest note and for the love and care that fills your heart. As always, it’s wonderful to connect with you.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Colleen

  • Robert,
    Sadly, this is the common verdict from judges in disability cases. Tragically, the disabled are usually so very honest and would never be able to imagine or make up what has happened to them. It is beyond me to understand any human being who does not listen to and believe those with disabilities….they are the most kind-hearted, pure in spirit kind of people I’ve ever been around. However, our judicial system is very broken and human. Many project their own beliefs onto others instead of listening with pure intentions to understand and give a verdict. There was no appeal in this case; it was too complicated. Only .2% of sexual assaults against the disabled are moved to a conviction…it is so very heartbreaking. However, we know and trust our heavenly Father who promises all things will be made right one day. If they killed a perfect person-Jesus Christ-that alone ought to help us understand just how fractured and shattered our system is. Much has been learned by this family; much about what Christ endured, expectations, and the hope that we will all have in heaven. Until then, we all cling to Christ who is our great comforter and healer. May you be blessed and have a great weekend. Colleen