Execution by firing squad
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are dead. The Bali Nine knew the rules, they accepted the risks, they got caught. What I find remarkable is the deliberate lack of compassion and callous dismissal of the immorality of their punishment (mental torture prior to much delayed execution, additional to a lengthy prison sentence) by many Australians.

Are we really that bloodthirsty that some are saying, “Tough luck,” or in some cases, “serves you right”? Or are we really that wilfully ignorant of the justice we’ve been spared?

People displaying a lack of human compassion for the now dead Bali9 are forgetting that they too have made mistakes, dangerous decisions affecting others despite clear warnings & common sense. Most of us are lucky enough to escape most of the imposed consequences, if not the natural ones.

Comparing crimes is ridiculous. What standard gets us into heaven? Perfection. Who is perfect? No one, but Jesus. What is the eternal justice for anyone not identified in Christ? Death.

We don’t have to put ourselves in their shoes. We ARE in their shoes. So don’t be shallow & hypocritical. If you ever deserved a second chance, a reprieve from the harshest of consequences, at least bite your tongue. You don’t have to say everything that pops into your head.

Rob Buckingham writes a great short article on how Indonesia failed their national interest, the war on drugs…

…Those “scumbags” were someone’s son; someone’s brother; someone’s friend.  They were our friends who’d we’d got to know a few years ago and worked alongside to help with the projects that were reforming and rehabilitating 100s – if not 1000s – of other prisoners.  We’ve had the privilege of meeting many of these reformed people over the years – people who are now out of jail, off drugs, holding down good jobs, getting married, having kids and being responsible members of society.

That’s the sad truth here.  You see Indonesia has the death penalty in place for drug traffickers.  Indonesia also has a massive drug problem (so obviously the whole death penalty thing is not working as a great deterrent to the traffickers or users).  Indonesia needs help with its drug problem.  What they had in Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were two men who were helping to reform drug users, traffickers and other prisoners.

So, if you have people helping you achieve your goal of reducing drug crime you get alongside and help them right?  You find out what’s working and develop those projects in other prisons.  You resource them because what they’re doing is helping reduce the drug problem in your country.  That would make sense wouldn’t it?  No, not if you’re the Indonesian President.  You take these men (who were helping you reduce your country’s massive drug problem) out onto a lonely island in the middle of the night and shoot them.  There.  End of problem, right?  Wrong.

Indonesia woke up yesterday morning just a little poorer.  They lost eight people who had reformed under its prison system and because of political pressure and a need to increase political popularity they killed them.

Rob Buckingham

Senior Pastor, Bayside Church

Making a mistake? These guys were well organised, highly experienced drug traffickers in an international drug ring. They were masterminds who put thousands of lives at risk in the quest for personal wealth. They knew the laws and took the risk anyway.

The beauty of understanding the word “sin” is that it helps me appreciate how equalising it is. It derives from archery, and basically means to miss the mark, the target. Whether you overshoot or aim wide by a little or a lot, you lose. A sin is a sin. A mistake is a mistake. “No cigar” for anyone less than perfect. We all know where the target is. There’s no excuse for not aiming for it, letting alone not hitting it. Comparing crimes (mistakes, sins) is ridiculous.

So yeh, I don’t think my righteousness outshines theirs, which is why I gladly receive Jesus’ righteousness to help me stand boldly before God. 
I love that I don’t get the justice I deserve.

Let Jesus demonstrate.

A Story About Forgiveness – Matthew 18:21-35

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”

Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Jesus Christ

Eternal Word of Life, High Priest, Righteous Judge, Kingdom of God

It doesn’t “fire me up” that others respond to the mercy and compassion they need and receive by saying they don’t need as much as somebody else. It saddens me.

It saddens me that although these two were the epitome of the purpose of a justice syste
m – punishment and rehabilitation, although they were highly influential in the rehabilitation of others in the illegal drug trade – within and without Indonesian jails, although their lives were now serving much greater good – not just rehabilitated but actually remedying some of the copious damage their previous lives had wreaked, although they had served longer sentences than the Australian legal system would demand, although they’d been mentally tortured by alternating hope and fearful despair: it saddens me this isn’t enough for some, less than perfect people.

It saddens me that some people think nothing of taking a human life which offers no probable threat of violence, no lack of prospects for rehabilitation, no probable risk of re-offending, no lack of appreciation for the weight of past sins. It saddens me that every human life isn’t valued as precious beyond description.

It saddens me that “objective” people feel qualified to decide what crimes do and don’t merit execution. Yet many of those same people would resent the fact that their sins, and not God, condemn them to eternity in anguish and despair. Many of those same people would reject the fact that God instead, at immense personal cost, provided the only hope for their salvation from their sins and otherwise inevitable future justice.

It fires me up that people miss the opportunity for forgiveness, mercy, healing, and eternal life instead of the curses of sin and death. It fires me up that they stare blankly, or even angrily at the Conductor calling out “all aboard” and then blame Him when they’re left standing at the station when the last train has departed, holding now useless tickets in their hands. Tragic.

It’s sad that anyone fail to realise they can’t afford the tickets by themselves – the price is too high without the free tickets paid for in advance on their behalf. It’s sad they realise that their ability to satisfy justice is no greater than anyone else’s. Whether you’re a dollar or a thousand dollars short – you’re not getting on that train without a free ticket.

So don’t deny someone else the undeserved gift you are equally in need of.

I get this is a view that only an eternal perspective can provide, which is why it only saddens me when not seen the same way.