The Kingdom Does Not Live by Mob Rule

The sentence handed down was 6 months.

Even in Canada, this seems like somebody heard wrong. 6 months? It can't be! Someone wrote months down instead of years, right? What happened here?

For possession of child pornography, he received 6 months.

What details I know about the case are about as scant as everyone else's: it was an international operation partnering with the FBI out of Connecticut, and he was found guilty of possession of child pornography.

Mob rule has already burst into the fray with torchces and pitchforks, screaming at how unfair and unjust this light slap on the wrist is. It's atrocious! It's obscene! Many have weighed in on what they would like to do to this guy, and many of those actions I won't repeat here.

I know the feeling… walking into any bar in Olongapo City last year to see white guys groping young Filipinas, and I was ready to pound some white-Canadian ass to tenderize. The loathing over the entire exploitation was horrific. What terrified me more was the loathing and desire for blood that arose inside myself.

I was the one that had to get a grip.

Unjust or not, the ruling has been made. Was this person only holding kiddie porn, keeping it ready for transport to someone else? Did he assist law enforcement to "catch bigger fish", in order to get a deal? I can't say. 

What I can say is this: when we face injustice, especially towards our little ones, righteous anger bubbles over. We cannot hide it, nor should we fear it. To deal with it well we must stare it straight in the eyes.

However…

… we need to make the anger work for a tangible expression of the kingdom of God, or else it will eat us alive. We become the haters, the judgers, the panderers of malice. We become that which we pursue to the death, and feel right to do so. We are the ones the take an obscenity and turn it into a blood bath.

Injustice is real.

We must choose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation first, even before we face any kind of injustice or immorality, so that when it does happen (and happen it will), our transformed response will indeed include anger and outrage… but it will also include a sincere desire for the convicted person to be loved, reconciled, and made new. Our anger is tempered to passion — both for victim and victimizer.

Harsh.

Oh yes.

Very harsh.

If we let mob rule take over the kingdom, it ceases to be a kingdom of Christ. Instead, it becomes a free-for-all of outrage where violence and death are the only outcomes. It is the easy way out — the pathway of cowards. This is hard to say when so many people, especially girls and women, have been prey to sexual predatory behaviour. To speak this need for 'forgiveness first' out loud in the face of exploitation, trafficking, and pornography is heretical in our world.

To dare choose to love the child sex offender is wrong.

To dare choose to see the rapist recover and reoncile is unworthy.

To dare choose peace and shalom even in the face of our greatest sins of our day is monstrous.

But it must be so.

For if we do not choose first how to respond to those who commit our greatest versions of sin, we allow violence to dictate our actions, and the kingdom becomes little more than lip service. It will be one of the hardest daily life choices we will ever have to make.

We live a double standard, you see. We wish the worst upon child sex offenders, yet when the complete their sentences (however just or unjust they might be), we expect them to be 'fixed'… or to stay the hell away from us.

How do we create kingdom living like this?

We can't.

Our only option — indeed our only hope — is to stare full in the face that which we most loathe, realize the same sin is in our lives, and desire to love and forgive above all. For victims, this is one of the hardest places of peace to come to. For communities betrayed in trust, it is a temptation so juicy that we bite into it easily without even thinking. But for true transformaton and reconciliation to occur, the desire to love the unloveable must be our choice.

The assumption that the "unloveable" in our society are stinky drunks stumbling about on the street (but really hurting no one but themselves) is erroneous. When Christ commanded to love the unloveable, He meant those who exhibit our worst disgusts, fears, and hatreds. He was speaking to ourselves.

"Your kingdom come…
Your will be done…
On earth… as it is in heaven."

Amen 

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