Due Process

“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established (Deuteronomy 19:15).”

Jann Wenner, the 72-year-old publisher of Rolling Stone magazine recently complained that the #MeToo movement suffers from a “real absence of due process.” (1) When you consider the casualties inflicted by the movement one could say that he may have a case. Oscar winning actors have had entire movies shot again to remove them from the production. A sitting U.S. Senator has been forced to resign while another seeking that position lost his bid due to accusations of inappropriate behavior decades ago. Flagship network television hosts have been removed from the air for the same. Were they truly guilty of the allegations? Probably. Perhaps. But in such cases once the court of public opinion has reached its critical mass no attorney can rescue the damaged reputations. And what of those who have truly repented from their past sins, should those be lodged against them?

Wenner is no casual observer, he’s seen how damaging lobbing such accusations can be from both sides. In 2014 his magazine printed the story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia. But when discrepancies began to arise in the alleged victim’s account they retracted the story six months later and paid out at least $1.65 million. Wenner, himself has had charges of sexual molestation directed at him as well. The movement has grown to the point that some are calling it a “witch trial.” It is plausible that innocent parties are being swept away with the guilty.

Under the law of Moses provisions were made so that one injustice did not follow another in meting out punishment. Cities of refuge were designated so that the case could be adjudicated fairly for the one whose actions accidentally resulted in the death of another (Numbers 35:22-28). Among the Ten Commandments was the prohibition against delivering false testimony (Exodus 20:16) and those who violated the ninth commandment were directed to suffer the punishment the wrongly accused would have suffered if convicted (Deuteronomy 19:16-20). Even the Romans took measures to ensure that no one was condemned by false charges (Acts 25:16).

There are some crimes so heinous we often wonder why God is slow to judge and punish them (Psalm 37). But all sin merits the death penalty. God warned Adam that the DAY he sinned he would suddenly and violently die as translated by Strong’s Hebrew dictionary (Genesis 2:17). But God was patient with Adam. The same word is employed for the stoning death imposed on the man who violated the Sabbath in the wilderness (Numbers 15:35-36). But thankfully God is rich in mercy and is not so quick to mete out the death penalty (2 Peter 3:9). He desires that even the most wicked sinners be allowed to repent and be spared death (1 Timothy 1:15, 2:4).

Can you imagine if God were just ready to strike out at us upon our first trespass? He nearly always afford evidence to accrue before judging. How should we expect Him to act differently towards the sins of others if He has been so patient with us? He is the righteous Judge (Genesis 18:25) who sees what all men do secretly (Psalm 44:21) and He has complete facts from which to render His perfect judgement. And what if He zapped us before we could sin and restrained our hands from disobedience? Could we love Him who disallowed our free will?

Jesus knows what it is like to be falsely accused and convicted by a sham court (Mark 14:56). Christians have a malicious accuser (Revelation 12:10) but we also have an Advocate who will plead our case (1 John 2:1, Zechariah 3:1-4), as well as serving as our Judge (Acts 17:31, 2 Corinthians 5:10). But the truth is that none of us are truly innocent (Romans 3:23). It is already established that He will be our Judge. In due process the punishment for sin has fallen on Him. The question for everyone living today is; “Will Jesus be your Savior and Advocate?”

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said to him, ‘No one Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more (John 8:10-11).’”

  1. https://www.apnews.com/d12663622cef4e089ae8108ab673e260/Jann-Wenner-says-MeToo-suffers-from-absence-of-due-process

Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.