A dilemma of unfairness
After leading his panellist to discuss a murder case, a radio presenter couldn’t contain himself about what he perceived to be “a dilemma of unfairness”—or rather a tapestry of justice.
The presenter stated the facts of the case: A man who committed murder and was imprisoned after a long trial had become a Christian behind bars. Not only that, he was now a preacher.
Presumably, said the radio presenter, this murderer-turned-Christian was on his way to heaven where he would spend eternity in perfect peace. But the man he killed was already on his way into torment because while he was alive, he didn’t care about God.
Where is fairness?
“Where is fairness?” the radio presenter queried. Why should someone dispatch another person to hell and then turn around and go to heaven? Why shouldn’t the murderer and his victim both go to hell?
I like this type of knotty dilemmas because they afford us the opportunity to dissect the issues, disentangle them and draw some conclusions for our learning.
Beneath the radio presenter’s dilemma is a fundamental truth that no one can run away from. And that truth is that we are all responsible for our actions.
Therefore, we cannot blame another person for the wrong we commit, even if that person tempted us.
We are liable
If someone tempts you to do a wrong thing, both the person who tempted you and you who yielded to the temptation are liable. It is precisely for this reason that the legal system indicts both the giver and the receiver of a bribe.
I have heard people argue that since Judas Iscariot was a victim of circumstances, he should not suffer the consequences of betraying Jesus. After all, wasn’t he simply fulfilling the prophecy about Jesus’ betrayal, punishment and death?
Those who think this way also exonerate the first couple for their disobedience in the Garden. Why not hold only the serpent accountable and let go of the woman and her husband?
But the same truth binds all of us, namely: he who does what is wrong is liable, for we are all responsible for our actions.
Otherwise, why are some people purported to be heaven-bound while others appear to be hell-bound since God created all humanity?
Now, not later!
That is a rather presumptuous statement if you look at it ordinarily. Who can determine that someone is going to heaven or going to hell?
Yet, in his argument, the radio presenter drew the line for both the murderer-turned-Christian and the person he murdered when he deduced that one was going to heaven and the other was already in hell.
Another fundamental truth hidden in the radio presenter’s exposition is that whenever you have the opportunity to turn to Jesus for salvation, that is the best time to do so since you don’t know who may kill you and deprive you of the chance to do so later.
And as it bothered the presenter, the person who takes your life may later turn to Christ and be on his way to heaven; and if you, at the time he took your life, had not yet turned to Christ, you, according to the radio presenter, might be heading towards hell!
What I have just said makes me shudder because non-human murderers are lurking about ready to take lives; they include diseases, accidents, evil spirits, old age or even young age!
Consequently, when it comes to receiving salvation, the apostle Paul said, “Now is the time of God’s favour; now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
An online statement on this subject adds: “God never speaks to someone to tell them to be saved ‘someday.’ He does not call on people to delay, but to turn to Christ right now.”
In other words, whenever the opportunity comes to turn to Christ for salvation, NOW, not later, is the right moment.
Probably, the man the murderer-turned-Christian killed must have been given the opportunity to turn to Christ in the past and might have postponed it.
According to the radio presenter, while the murdered person was alive, he had no interest in the things of God.
He was probably waiting for a later date to develop that interest, but, behold, it was too late!
‘Come down immediately’
The day Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus hiding in a tree in his desire to see him, the Lord told him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately; for today, I must stay in your house.”
Zacchaeus was to come down immediately, not later, to receive Christ into his house. Those who wait for tomorrow or later to make such an important decision in life soon find out it is too late.
God is the Lord of justice and fairness, but the decision to follow him is ours to make.
The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.