“Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate!” -Amos 5:15
Justice is the idea of receiving or giving a just, fair, or equitable return. Courts are supposed to be fair and balanced in their decisions, giving out a due reward or punishment according to the situation. For those who have done nothing wrong and are found innocent, nothing should be done to them. For those who have committed a crime and are found guilty, the punishment should be–at the least–equal to the crime.

I have just read in the news (August 20, 2005) that a St. Paul man, Clarence Dunn Sr., was sentenced to 25.5 years for “intentional 2nd degree murder for killing his girlfriend, Casandra Koocheck, by knocking her five times in the head with a hammer. And if he is good, he can get out when he is 67. He has also served 4 years and four months for a 1995 stabbing. In your opinion, did Clarence receive a just sentence? Is Casandra’s life worth 17 to 25 years? Should he have received a longer or shorter sentence, or is this one just right?

The Bible says that government has a specific role of keeping law and order. According to the Apostle Peter, government’s interest is “…the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” -1 Peter 2:14It is therefore God’s will that Christians be good citizens. The Bible says that those in authority receive their authority from God. Paul wrote that, “…those which exist are established by God.” Therefore it is the interest of all people, including Christians, that there be government that is just. The prophet Amos spoke against Israel when there was no justice to be found. “You have turned justice into poison“, he said (Amos 6:12). This greatly disappointed God, because He is the God of justice. No one understands justice better than Him. For the debt of man’s sin, God was just to offer the perfect substitute.

I am not the judge of any man, but my first interest is in helping all sinners to be saved by the grace of God. But I must admit that I lament the present state of affairs in our courts of justice. Sentences such as the one here may be an indication of how we do not value life. How much less do we value the soul?

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