News reports flood the internet concerning numerous accusations of long-standing histories of sexual abuse by entertainment industry giants Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. If true, one wonders how they got away with these horrible offenses for years. No doubt, success, celebrity and power shut the mouths of many victims and witnesses to abuses and crimes so that the guilty parties are not brought to justice.
What leads people to open their mouths and speak out? The confidence that justice ultimately exists? Actress Paz de la Huerta, whose allegations of rape by Harvey Weinstein, may lead to his arrest, said, “‘I think he’s done it to too many women, and he’s gotten away with it for too many years,’ she said. ‘It would be nice to know justice exists.’” Once we lose confidence that justice exists, what hope is there for speaking out against the rich, famous, brilliant, and powerful?
Fame, fortune and fear-inspiring power often appear to control justice, making it appear arbitrary. However, I firmly believe that justice is not arbitrary, but rather is indifferent to the high, mighty and lucrative people and things that matter so often to us. God is no respecter of persons, the Bible teaches us. Consider Romans 2:1-11 (ESV):
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
God shows no partiality, nor does true justice that flows from God’s being. Thus, unequivocal denials, repudiations, statements of “No comment,” lack of sufficient evidence, and even mistrials, do not prove one is innocent. Even verdicts in courts of law that “prove” one’s innocence do not mean one is ultimately cleared of all charges, only cleared of guilty verdicts here below on earth, not in heaven above. Everyone will die once and after that face judgment, according to Hebrews 9:27. In fact, no one is ultimately innocent, according to Scripture. Clint Eastwood’s bounty hunting character in Unforgiven puts it this way in response to his young partner who claimed the hunted man he just killed had it coming, “We all have it coming, Kid.”
All too often we point fingers at others, and not ourselves. And yet, we all have it coming, one way or another, whether in this life or the next. In Spacey’s case, one wonders if the ruthless pragmatism of his Machiavellian character U.S. President Frank Underwood in Netflix’s House of Cards invites more comparison to himself than to current President Donald Trump (Refer here to a TIME article discussing the comparison between Frank Underwood and the current and real President of the United States). Time will tell, and so will heavenly justice.
In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, we find a psychological thriller that unveils the mind and soul of a man who is convinced that he is above the law for his acts of murder. However, he eventually turns himself in to the authorities. The inner turmoil he undergoes prior to his confession to the police suggests to me that he and the rest of us are punished (in part) even before the cases are closed on our various legal and illegal, weighty and petty crimes. Whether or not today’s entertainment, political, business and religious giants who have committed crimes feel torment for what they have done, they should. If they don’t feel torment, perhaps it is but a sign of how deeply depraved they are, how their seared consciences are themselves signs of their guilt, and evidence that punishment has already begun.
Not wishing in any way to excuse the crimes and misdeeds of the cultural elite, and longing for justice to prevail everywhere, we also need to look in the mirror and into our own common souls. God’s kindness and forbearance are intended to lead us all to repentance, as Romans 2 specifies. Why wait until we are caught in the act? Why point the finger at others and presume and pontificate that we are innocent humans, if and when we are guilty of the same crimes, whether in thought or in deed? Why try and justify our actions, pick the lock on the handcuffs on our consciences, and throw away the key? We will reap what we sow in word, deed, and thought. For the Lord Jesus, the thought itself counts, and will receive its just due no matter how hard we try to cover it up. Jesus himself says,
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:27-30; ESV).
We all need to take a deep look within our hearts and at our lives, come forward, and repent. After all, justice exists and, one way or another, will prevail.