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Guilty until proven innocent

Someone is accused of a crime or a serious offense and a supposedly civilized society morphs into barbarians. An accusation is all the court of public opinion needs to convict. Reason is extinguished and the noose is prepared.

Shaking our heads at the hysterical execution of several women in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials in 1692-1693, we do the exact same thing when a scandal arises.

We equate the number of headlines with guilt. Yet, news channels, websites and blogs make their money off of visits, hits and purchases. They’re completely separate from guilt or innocence. Volume is not the jury.

Sadly, we’ll believe anything, no matter how insidious, about those we don’t like.

We believe in someone being innocent until proven guilty as long as it pertains to our own behavior or that of a select few. But everyone else is guilty regardless. Bolt the doors and throw away the key!

Revenge, notoriety, financial or political gain are just a few reasons for false charges. When we equalize the validity of all accusations, anarchy is the result.

Naturally some accusations are real and the guilty will face the consequences. However, God can forgive their sins (Luke 13:3-5).

God teaches us to love (1 John 4:7-19) and forgive (Matthew 6:14-15) because all have sinned (Romans 3:23). We must allow people to change and become a better person without their past always being before them (1 Timothy 1:12-15; Philippians 3:12-14).

Souls matter more than anything else (Matthew 16:26) and God’s judgments are fair (1 John 1:5; Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12).

The admonition against judging in Matthew 7:1-5 means that we must judge righteous judgment. It doesn’t mean that no one can judge anything for any purpose. Otherwise the judicial system, evangelism, compassion and benevolence would be sins (Matthew 28:18-20; James 5:19-20; Matthew 25:31-46).

God established fairness in the legal system concerning witnesses and we must follow suit (Deuteronomy 19:15-21). How can the fleshly world mature if God’s people refuse to be a light of truth and civility (Matthew 5:13-16)?

Which will matter more, the spiritual blood of Christ (1 John 1:7) or the fleshly bloodlust of the wolf pack?

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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