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Tag Archives: justice

Wanted: Dead or Alive

In 1987 Bon Jovi released the song Wanted: Dead or Alive as their third single from the Slippery When Wet album.  The title of this song pays homage to Jon’s admiration of Old West heroes.  Whether this was a poster or a sheriff seeking to purge his town of criminals, this phrase became synonymous with a quest for justice.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

While classic movies pay tribute to the age of Cowboys and Indians, one aspect of life has not changed.  Evil continues to exist today in various shapes and forms.  Demons masquerade as angels of light using the gullible, weak and unknowing as accomplices of the Devil.  Jesus even had to rebuke one of his own disciples, Peter, proclaiming, “get behind me Satan.”

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, Amos 5:24.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of western sheriffs, Jesus offers some interesting advice.  According to the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 16, if you want to find life you must be willing to lose it.  Meanwhile, if you attempt to save your life, you will lose it.  Today, God is searching for new deputies.  However, before you enlist you must consider the cost: do you want death or hope to come alive?

by Jay Mankus

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Over Playing the Victim Card

Over the past year, cable news networks have reported about the transformation occurring on college and university campuses throughout the United States.  Some of these exclusives have addressed the transition from education and knowledge based curriculum toward political and social activism.  One college professor recently gave students the option to either take a final exam or participate in a group project.  The class chose to protest Trump at a nearby rally.

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,” Job 27:2.

One of the angles disgruntled voters are taking is victimology.  Instead of fighting through adversity, battling disappointment and overcoming failures, the victim card is being played over and over again.  Sure, many individuals are dealt an unfair hand in life.  This is a painful reality in this life.  Yet, God is not pleased when his own followers join the crowd of the disenfranchised.  Seeking pity from the privileged isn’t the right course of action.  Rather, the Lord has a better choice for those unable to grasp why bad things happen to good people.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

When his friends began to hint that recent trials were self-inflicted, part of some secret sin, Job began to play the victim card.  Within Job 27, this man of integrity begins to blame God for his problems.  This was Job’s fatal flaw, an inappropriate response to his hardship.  The apostle Paul introduces a more appropriate course of action.  Despite how you really feel inside, negative comments, harsh criticism and demoralizing words doesn’t solve your situation.  Rather, ask the Lord for rays of hope, signs of progress and a spirit of optimism.  In doing this, you will turn your victim card in for a peace that surpasses understanding.

by Jay Mankus

Gulping Down Evil

Prior to 1955, a bottle of Coca Cola was 6.5 ounces.  If you pour 5 of these into a big gulp cup, the final one will spill out over the top.  Realizing the need for expansion, Coca Cola experimented with a 32 ounce cup supplied to 7 Eleven chains in Southern California.  By 1976, despite public pressure concerning obesity, the Big Gulp was conceived.

A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil, Proverbs 19:28.

Although 7 Eleven stores did not exist during the Old Testament, there were some individuals who developed reputations as heavy drinkers.  Since Jewish weddings could last up to a week, guests who traveled from out of town were wined and dined.  Participating in these festivities likely influenced the words King Solomon chose in the passage above.  Comparing drinking to corruption, there are some people who gulp down evil.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

Almost 20 years ago, my friend and I both contradicted Lyme Disease in the same summer.  While my symptoms were caught early, his went overlooked for several months.  Unfortunately, he lost his sense of taste, unable to distinguish between that which is sweet or bitter.  The same can be said about individuals who can’t discern between good from evil.  Subsequently, its possible for a wayward soul to reach a place where one begins to gulp evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Rosewood Revisited

The 1997 film Rosewood starring Jon Voight and Don Cheadle details the horrific events of the first week of January 1923.  Known as the Rosewood massacre, a rural town in Levy County Florida, this movie depicts the events which culminated into a race riot.  This history lesson provides a painful reminder of how white parents taught their children not to play with African American kids.  When a white woman lies about being raped by a black man, all hell breaks loose throughout Rosewood.

But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, Amos 5:24.

As I watched this for this first time in years, some of the scenes are reminiscent of modern events.  Whether its Black Lives Matters protests, tension between law enforcement and the African American community or violent acts upon innocent people, a mob mentality influences one’s ability to use common sense.  The byproduct of this distraction often leads to emotionally outbursts, harsh comments and regrettable actions.  This is the climate in which we now reside, helping to explain some of the awful headlines in the news.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

If you revisit Rosewood or watch it for the first time, its not easy to digest.  Some of the content will make you cringe.  Other parts may shock you or cause you to feel sympathy for how black were mistreated by white for centuries.  Yet, one must look toward the future while remembering the words of Dr. Martin King Jr, “its not about the color of our skin, but the content of our character.”  In view of this, may this country come together as one to live, learn and rise above past transgressions.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Accusations Without Reason

Over the last 23 years, more than 2000 inmates have been exonerated after being falsely accused of a crime.  Unfortunately, these individuals spent more than 10,000 years combined before the truth set them free.  This time away from family, friends and void of freedom can never be returned.  Yet, this statistic serves as a remainder to never make accusations without reason.

Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm, Proverbs 3:30.

Exaggerations, lies and untruths are nothing new.  Perhaps, Solomon came to the conclusion that the sinful nature serves as a defense mechanism.  Whenever accusations, blame or indictments come your way, human nature’s first reply is usually “I didn’t do it!”  Nonetheless, DNA tests, lie detectors and modern scientific devices have been created to prevent further injustices from occurring.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

Following their exoneration of rape charges, Duke Lacrosse players David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty have joined the Innocence Project.  This organization files appeals on behalf of individuals wrongfully punished for crimes they never committed.  When an innocent poor person can’t afford a good defense team, this group and others like it fight for the little guy.  May this blog inspire you to defend and stand up for those falsely accused in your spheres of influence.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Reactions Without Responsibility

Any parent who loses a child to a drunk driver, victim of a crime or family member of a relative fatally shot wants to see justice prevail.  In the heat of the moment, especially after receiving this bad news, emotions can cause harsh reactions.  Yet, in America people are suppose to be innocent until proven guilty.  Sure, it would be nice if the court systems could speed up this process.  However, until individuals have their day in court, its irresponsible to incite violence, rush to judgment or use social media to encourage others to seek revenge.

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? – Matthew 7:4

In the hours following the unfortunate shooting deaths of African Americans by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, reactions in the media were fast and furious.  Apparently, some people took black leaders, politicians and twitter posts literally.  Subsequently, now there are six dead police officers in 2 states, several more wounded and public servants have been betrayed by the citizens they are paid to protect.  The response by celebrities to the initial two deaths is a clear indication that reactions have consequences.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye, Matthew 7:5.

America has come to a cross roads, on the verge of a racial divide.  The leadership and message provided by Dr. Martin Luther King has either been forgotten or is absent from this current generation.  In view of this dire situation, its time for personal responsibility, realizing that everyone is imperfect.  During his sermon on the Mount Jesus encouraged followers to get their own lives in order before criticizing or judging other people.  The same truth applies to Americans today.  Therefore, the next time you have an urge to lash out, over react or post complaints on social media, remember these words of Jesus.  If put into practice, God’s Word can begin to transform lives one soul at a time.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

In the film Absolute Power, Clint Eastwood plays a jewel thief who witnesses a murder during one of his heists.  When the secret service tries to cover up the president’s affair with a powerful donor’s wife who is now dead, only one person knows the truth.  On the verge of fleeing the country, a press conference infuriates Eastwood who is forced to return to the scene of his crime.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly, Proverbs 26:11.

In the spiritual realm, there are some people who tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over again without learning from their consequences.  The wisdom of Solomon relates this individual to a dog who returns to their vomit after throwing up.  This strange behavior is indicative of a fool who does not mature, lured into an addictive cycle that never disappears.

Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud,” 2 Peter 2:22.

In life, its much easier to run away from the truth and hide than confront the real issue.  While prepared to live the rest of his life off the grid, Clint Eastwood’s conscience urged him to take on the leader of the free world.  Despite the overwhelming odds he faced, Eastwood did the right thing, returning to the scene of the crime and putting back everything he stole.  Whatever situation you are currently facing, may you stand up for justice so that the truth will set you free.

by Jay Mankus