Righteous Judgement#7. “Trial by TV.”

Righteous Judgement#7. “Trial by TV.”

It has been almost 30 years since the OJ Simpson trial. I had never heard of him before the day that the world watched on as the police pursued him in the infamous White Ford Bronco SUV in 1994.

His trial drew tens of millions to their TV screens, and an estimated 100 million watched the jury find him “not guilty” of the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.

Simpson cut a fine figure in that courtroom. Taken at face value, we had a handsome NFL star and movie actor who was being accused of crimes that a man like him ‘surely would never commit.’

I cannot tell you whether OJ Simpson is a murderer or not. But what is known is that he was a violent man before the death of his wife and that he was imprisoned for armed robbery and kidnapping in 2007.

Who knows how many men have been wrongly accused and found guilty, or rightly accused and found innocent? Such verdicts are usually beyond the control of you and me.

But what is always under our control is the ability “to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

What kind of world would we have today if all those who sat day after day condemning OJ had equally condemned their own sins first? And what kind of world would we have today if all those who sat day after day defending the innocence of OJ had equally defended the innocence of those around them?

Jesus was not only speaking to his enemies when he said, “You judge by human standards” (John 8:15). Jesus’ dissenters had judged him unworthy to be the Messiah. Their main mistake was that their standards of worthiness began and ended with themselves.

All of us are expected to continually judge right from wrong. However, our standard of Righteous Judgement is beyond ourselves. It is instead confined to God’s Word. Therein, “mercy triumphs over judgement” (James 2:13).

The Psalmist gives eternal hope to those who judge rightly:
“For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice;
the upright will see his face” (Psalm 11:7).

John Staiger

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