Friday, April 11, 2014

Guilty or Not Guilty? How God would judge Oscar.


It amazes me how many people have very strong opinions on whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty or not (of murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year). I have heard many people quickly pass judgment on Oscar. Funny how these people have not been trained to consider evidence, never mind that they haven’t studied all the evidence. And here’s the biggest point: they were not there when this took place. It is already a difficult decision for the judge (a professional) to make, and so it amuses me how many people (self-appointed, untrained judges) hold such strong opinions.

Do I think that the Olympic and Paralympic athlete murdered his girlfriend on purpose or by accident? Honestly, I do not have an opinion on it. What we do know is that someone’s life was tragically taken by someone they loved. Whether it was an accident or not is difficult to judge.

One thing I do know for sure, beyond a shadow of any doubt, is that God was there that fatal moment and He surely knows what happened. His heart must have broken to see what was happening (as it must with all situations where someone is hurt) and I know for sure that He is sad at the heartache of Reeva's loved ones. He is a compassionate God who longs to comfort us in our pain.

The first thing that we need to know about a situation like this is that it was not God who orchestrated it or allowed it. Jesus said that the thief (speaking of the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but that He came to bring an abundant life for us (see John 10:10). Bad things happen because people make bad decisions. God is a good Father who only has good things planned for us.

So, what does God think? Does our God of love and justice declare Oscar Pistorious guilty or innocent?

Let’s say that Oscar did it purposefully – hypothetically speaking. Remember that I do not have an opinion on the matter. But let’s say he planned the whole thing and thought out a way to murder his girlfriend and now he is trying to cover his tracks. God Almighty, the Creator of the universe would declare Oscar: innocent. Not guilty! Hold the phone – did you just say that if Oscar was guilty, God would declare him innocent? That’s exactly what I said! This is the message of Jesus which the church has failed to correctly declare to the world, that because of Jesus, God is not holding anyone’s sin against them.

Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet that ever lived (Luke 7:28). The greatest prophet said the following concerning Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). Note that it didn’t say “the sin of the Christian” or “the believer”, but “the world.” What this means is that sin is no longer a barrier between God and man. The penalty for sin was taken by Jesus on the cross and as a result sin has been dealt with! Another scripture says, speaking of Jesus, “He is the atoning sacrifice (payment) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for our sins. He paid for our sins and so that we do not have to. Note once again that it’s the sins of the whole world – not just the sin of the Christian. This is great news: God has forgiven you because of Jesus, whether you accept it or not. Therefore, Oscar would not go to hell for being a murderer, even if he had planned the whole thing out. God has declared him innocent and is not condemning him. Does God like the fact that Reeva was murdered and people are hurting? Most definitely not! Sin causes pain and problems, and there are natural consequences (like going to prison and suffering with broken relationships and feelings of guilt and shame) but God has completely cleared Oscar of any guilt, just as He has declared all of mankind completely innocent – even the worst and most vile sinners. God loves everyone and through the cross of Jesus He has completely eradicated any obstacle or barrier to having relationship with God. Sin no longer separates man from God!

Does this mean everyone goes to heaven when they die? I wish that it were true that everyone automatically went to heaven, but Scripture is clear that we do have a role to play. “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). Only those who receive eternal life (see John 3:16), those who "believe” will live in eternity with God. People do not go to hell because they murdered, lied, stole, cheated, committed sexual sins etc. People go to hell because they reject Jesus and do not receive the wonderful gift of eternal life.


Back to Oscar: It saddens me that so many ungracious Christians would make ungracious statements of judgement like “Oscar will get what he deserves and will have to answer to God.”  God is not holding anything against anyone, ever. Thank God that we do not get what we deserve because by the standards of the Old Covenant Law there isn’t a person in the world worth spitting on. Oscar Pistorius and Mother Teresa both stand before God equally forgiven completely. They will not have to pay for their sin one day because Jesus already did that. The eternal question that matters is “did you receive Jesus or didn’t you?”

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