Guilty, Until Proven Innocent (Matthew 26:59-61)

During the past few weeks, the nation has been riveted by the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. A squeaky clean resume and an impressive judicial record have been forever tarnished by the accusations of several women, claiming behaviors ranging from drunkenness, exposing himself to them, and attempted rape. The claims and testimonies of the women were compelling. The testimony of the Judge was forceful. This was not a court of law and the usual standards of a criminal investigation were not the standard. It all boiled down to whose testimony was more believable.

 

At the heart of the entire process is a fundamental tenet of our justice system, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. In a perfect world, all would respectfully listen to the testimonies of each party and arrive at an educated and informed decision. But this is far from ​a ​perfect world and accusations stick and linger around the accused and shame and pain surround the accuser. Whether it is the school teacher accused of pedophilia, the Church leader accused of an affair, or the government official accused of taking a bribe, the accuser and accused are placed on the stage of public scrutiny. If sufficient evidence is found to convict Judge Kavanaugh or any other accused of crimes, they should definitely stand trial and accept the consequences. But even if Judge Kavanaugh or others are ultimately exonerated of the accusations, the stain of the accusation remains. And what of the accuser? They are forced to relive painful memories, divulging intimate details to millions of people who clamor for justice to be served and their suffering to find closure. Whatever the outcome, both the accuser and accused are losers. In this hyperconnected and instant gratification seeking world, we have leapfrogged the usual vetting process and have crossed over to the dangerous precedent that the accused are guilty until proven innocent.

 

Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’ ”

Matthew 26:59-61 (ESV)

 

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was the victim of a sham and kangaroo court. Reviled by the ruling class of Jews that included the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the scribes, they were determined to discredit and ultimately kill Him. They actively sought out witnesses, anyone who was willing to say something against Him. They could only produce two who shared a quotation of Jesus that was taken out of context. No worries. The authorities were not interested in the truth, only to accomplish their agenda, regardless of whether there was corroborating evidence. They encouraged the masses to support their contentions, focusing upon a quotation that ultimately proved to be true. Jesus was the temple of God and although He was executed by the Jews, God, the Father, resurrected Him three days later.

 

The Bible shows us this sad state of affairs has always been with us, only now it is more rampant and immediate, fueled by a social media-driven press and self-proclaimed pundits who whip emotions to a biased frenzy on all sides of the political spectrum.

 

Guilty, until proven innocent.

 

Jesus Christ was executed for the expediency of hidden political agendas. Let us pray that we will not so quickly judge others until we have prayerfully considered all the information presented to us, for the sake of both the accused and accuser.

 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

 

 

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