Like many of us, I grew up on Law & Order, Hunter, and Perry Mason. I am always amazed at no matter how “secular” a show is, much of our legal system has its roots in the Bible. It’s no secret that we founded as a Christian nation, that most of our founding fathers were devoted Christians. However, it still amuses me when the accused murderer says, “eye for an eye”, straight out of the Bible, to justify his murdering whomever, and forgets the “Thou shall not murder” verse.
In that same way, I found a great verse in Exodus 22. Here God is talking about what happens to those who steal, it is titled “Laws about restitution”. I started to think about this, because frankly, you and I are much more likely to be robbed than murdered. Most of us live in the real world, where over 300,000 muggings take place a year in the United States. In verse 3, it speaks that if a robber breaks into your house, and you strike him and he dies, so be it. (Matching what our laws stipulate). However, if he lives, “He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, he will be sold for his theft. If the stolen beast (the loot) is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox, or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” Parenthesis mine.
Seriously! Why do I love this? Because the criminal not only returns what he stole but he has to make up for the terror he has done to those he has wronged. When someone breaks into your home, you are violated! Yes, prison is a sentence to “pay” for your crimes, but it doesn’t resolve the initial problem. In today’s economy, maybe once released for his crime, he needs to pay for their counseling.
Because we are inundated with shows about murder, we are desensitized to its impact and we tend to minimize petty crimes. However, those “petty” crimes, are the crimes most of us will encounter. Those effect most of us in a profound way and should not be overlooked. So much so, that God addresses it in the Bible! He wants all of us to know, that we are valuable to Him and our feelings and our boundaries are to be respected. If someone ignores those boundaries, they are to settle-up to compensate for the harm they have done.
Putting aside the reasons the mugger did it in the first place, and the complexities of settling-up, we are still left with one truth. You are precious to God!!
One time, I was looking to volunteer for an organization. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I asked God what concerned Him. I wanted to align my efforts with His, and He honored that with a list of injustices that bothered Him. The one that I was most shocked at, was robbery. Again, most likely because I am desensitized to robbery, when I watch people get murdered each week on NCIS, but frankly I was puzzled. After weeks of prayer, it was made clear to me that it is because of the nature of robbery. It seems small to us, but to God, the person who robs and the person who was robbed are dearly loved by God and He wants to reach out and comfort both! It’s not small to Him! It’s not inconsequential! The desperation of the robber, having to resort to robbery and the person being robbed, not only of their worldly possessions, but their safety and boundaries being violated matters to the Creator of the universe!
While I didn’t choose to help those who had been robbed, or work with those likely to commit robbery, I chose another one of the injustices that God mentioned to me His list, human trafficking. I chose Redeem and Restore Center for three reasons:
- Jesus is Lord.
- I was able to give my time and talents, in addition to my treasure.
- I was able to impact the evil right here in my neighborhood. There is so much injustice in this world, it can be overwhelming. However, we are called to align ourselves with God’s will and serve those who are vulnerable. If you are interested in volunteering for Redeem and Restore Center, please go to www.redeemandrestore.org