If you’re American, you’ve almost certainly recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” sometime during your lifetime. For me as a child, it was a requirement at the beginning of each and every school day. The last three words in the Pledge are “justice for all.” Those words really stood out to me recently. I want to ask: Is there “justice for all?” Is there justice for you?
I wonder how Susan Mellen would answer that question. Susan Mellen was freed from prison by a Los Angeles County judge recently. Based solely on witness testimony, Mellen was convicted of orchestrating the 1997 death of Richard Daly, a homeless man she once dated, and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. When Mullen was arrested, her youngest children were 7 and 9. Mellen was arrested in McDonald's just as she was buying her youngest daughter Jessica a Happy Meal.
The judge said, “I believe that not only is Ms. Mellen not guilty—based on what I have read, I believe she is innocent. […] For that reason I believe in this case the justice system failed.” Notice the judges’ words; “the justice system failed.” (Full story here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2788356/Woman-exonerated-murder-case-17-years.html)
As a mother, when I saw this story on the news about Mellen, I was very moved with excitement that she was released, but also had great sadness for her. She was torn away from her children, in their formative years, for a crime she did not commit! I tried to imagine what Susan’s first few days were like in prison as she stressed over her young children. Her children would never see her free again. She would have to do her best, to be their mother behind bars—for life! Susan did this for 17 long years. Her daughter, Jessica, said she and her fiancé of eight years were waiting to get married until her mother could be at the wedding. They never gave up hope that their mother would be freed.
Susan is not alone in being wrongfully convicted. A Louisiana man, Glenn Ford, was exonerated in March of 2014 after serving 30 years on death row in Angola Prison, for a crime he did not commit! There are a lot more Susan Mellens and Glen Fords who have been convicted wrongfully.
In fact, since 1973, 143 people on death row have been exonerated; their time spent on death row ranged from 1 to 33 years, with an average of 10, according to Virginia Hughes. That figure doesn’t even take into consideration the number of innocent people who had been killed before they could have been exonerated.
We have all witnessed the terrible things happening in Ferguson, Missouri, with the shooting Michael Brown and the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who killed him, Darren Wilson. Streets have been filled with protests and people crying out for justice. They want justice so badly that some have turned to violent riots and looting, as if that would get them justice; never mind that their actions create injustice for others whose property they destroy.
Time would not allow to name the other innumerable injustices in the world—ISIS, dictators, the list goes on.
The Greatest Injustice of All
Let’s bring it down to the greatest sacrifice of all—the injustice done to Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, but was wrongfully convicted and killed in a brutal manner.
“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward” (Matthew 26:59-61).
We all want fairness and justice. But is that possible in this world ruled by Satan—the one who is not only the tempter, but also our accuser? He goes before God’s throne to continuously accuse us, just like he did with Job (Job 1:6, Revelation 12:10).
But take heart! “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Examples of God’s Love for Justice
In direct contrast to the injustice of our world today, God our Father loves justice. He built it into His law and emphasized it repeatedly. Here are two examples:
• Justice for the widows, orphans and the aliens: “He executes justicefor the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).
• Justice for the poor and the oppressed: “I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor” (Psalms 140:12). “Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; he LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous; the LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked” (Psalms 146:7-9).
Justice is Coming!
Our hope is in the change that will come! Those three words will truly ring out—“justice for all”—when God returns to this earth, when all nations will be under Him. When His government will rule and all will have fair justice.
“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).