The Blood of The Innocent
In many religions blood has a special significance and Christianity is no different. We find in the Bible that God tells the Israelites to abstain from meat with the blood still in it and blood is also vital to the sacrificial system. With this in mind it is interesting that the author of Proverbs chooses to describe the murder of an innocent person in these terms (no matter how poetic is it).
One of the first things I thought of when I was thinking about innocent blood is child sacrifices or the numerous times that Kings commanded babies to be killed. Molech, for instance, is a god known for worship through sacrificing children. This was so common that God actually tells the Israelites not to do this in Leviticus 18:21. In Exodus 1, Pharaoh wanted to control the population of the Israelites and commanded the midwives to kill the baby boys was once they were born. In Matthew 2:16, Herod sees the birth of Jesus as a threat to his throne so he commands for all boys 2 and younger to be killed. Not discussing the fallen state of humanity or if we are born with a blank slate, children are typically seen as innocent. It’s the idea of “women and children” first or an army being despicable if they kill the women and children who have been held at the whim of the opposing army.
Cultural Equality and Fairness
Today people are all about equality and fairness… for themselves. Try having an opposing view: hint- it doesn't work out very well. Society is in a big tug-of-war for what is politically correct and no matter where you stand, you are probably wrong. We all grew up but apparently our moms never corrected us when we said, “that’s not fair,” because we still expect life to be fair and since it isn't, we now are in a giant hissy fit about how it is not like we expected. I suppose no one warned us about unrealistic expectations either. It is all rather annoying. It is rare to find someone truly for equality for everyone. Why? Because people aren't equal. People are different. People have different experiences, different education, and different backgrounds, making is nearly impossible to legislate for it. Also, as much as people in power say they want equality for everyone, they don't really want equality, because that means they loose their power and prestige. Socialists promise other people’s money and not their own in order to make things ‘equal’ and yet that isn't fair. Fairness and equality seem like they go hand-in-hand but once we sit-down and try to make them happen one ends up being sacrificed.
In this Idea of equality and fairness comes the want for justice or getting even. The need for restitution. We still live in an “eye for and eye, and tooth for tooth” world; with people still demanding the other eye or more than one tooth. In the television show “The 100” the this tension between getting justice and the unending chain of revenge is summed up in the phrase, “Jus drein jus daun” or “Blood must have blood,” but things are shaken up when someone in power wants to go against the wishes of her people wanting revenge and declares that blood must not have blood since the cycle will never end unless someone gives up their right to get even. Jesus dealt with this idea in Matthew 5:38-48 when he tells us to go out of our way to do what is right and to love our enemies. Somehow this still has not sunk into our thick heads even after all this time.
No one wants to be associated with a crime against a child because that is the lowest of the low even in “low” circles. People who have done some heinous things even look down on people who have done bad things to a kid. Why is that? People have a concept of children being innocent.
In fact most people believe or want to believe that they are good. If there heaven exists, they are going to it because it is for good people and as long as you try to be good then you are good. I guess the question is if you can be good without being innocent because I think we are all guilty of something. The Bible goes as far as to say that if we have broken one law we are guilty of breaking them all. There is that word… guilt… the enemy of innocence. It’s the whole “if you haven't do anything wrong why are you nervous at the sight of police” mentality. The guilty conscience.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Although we typically make decisions about high profile court cases like the Michael Jackson case or more recently Steven Avery (thanks Netflix) We have a innocent until proven guilty precedent that protects the accused. Without it, it is an even greater uphill battle to prove one’s innocence than it might already feel like today. It is meant to give people equal footing; the prosecution must prove you did it while the defense shows why you didn’t. I think that this ties back into people wanting to believe that the are fundamentally good; we want the benefit of the doubt, we want to minimize our offense, and we want to believe the ‘good’ we do outweighs the bad.
Guilty Until Redeemed
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Without getting too into how God sees time and how everything is already over from God’s perspective meaning that He knows everyone who accepts Him and is redeemed, I want to say that as difficult of a pill to swallow as it is, people without Jesus will be found guilty in the court of God. I can live my life in complete denial of what I have done but once I go to court it doesn't matter if I thought I was doing wrong or not, if I am guilty then I will be sentenced appropriately to the crime.
This whole post comes to this one moment: people are not good. We want to be. We might try to do what we think is good. We reason our way out of wrongs and into being “good enough,” but we are not good without God. We can be good by society’s standard. But don't expect a pat on the back from me. I just wrote a blog about how worthless I am, that doesn't sound like I'm good.
When writing this I found there is a tension between existence being good because God sustains it since He is existence itself and the “evil” in the world, that is, the guiltiness of humanity (I put evil in quotes because my theology suggests that evil does not exist because evil by definition is the opposite of good and God is good and is existence meaning that evil cannot exist). Somehow God allows gradations of goodness, bastardization of good, without it being completely evil at which point that evil would cease to exist. We live in a world that has been corrupted but existentially is still good. That boggles my mind! People point to the current state of affairs on the earth as proof God not existing or in an effort to tarnish the nature of God but some theorized that this was the best of all possible worlds (but I am not sure that I buy into that line of thinking as I feel that, depending on the explanation, it limits God since this was “the best he could do” and we don't think much of it. I also can see it as God decided that this was the best way for time to unfold to achieve His perfect end. The second falls more in line with my sovereign view of God and forces me rethink my view of the world.).
We might live like we are innocent until proven guilty, but we are guilty until redeemed. Our guilt is clear and if we wait for it to be “proven” then it will be too late.
The Christian faith is based on a man, who is said to be God in human form, living a perfect innocent life but being put to death for no reason and in His death, those who are not innocent are given a chance to have their guilt expunged based on the character of another. This man is Jesus. It is so amazing that God chose to use the shedding of innocent blood to reconcile humanity back to Himself. In fact, the only innocent man to live had his blood spilt. Why did Jesus have to sacrifice Himself? I don't know. It certainly holds links to the Israelite sacrificial system, with Jesus being the perfect sacrifice for us, but I don't know why God decided to do it that way. I just know that God is perfect, loving and just as well as merciful and that all equals what Jesus did for us.
What is so worth it?
Apparently we are.
There would not be a reason for Jesus to come unless it was important to God that humanity had a chance to know Him. Creation was good without humanity but God included humanity anyway. He knew we would mess up and He had a plan to make things right. Humanity must be important to God.
Thank you God for thinking enough of me to want me to be around, even when I do not see it in myself. You see me for who I can and will be and there is so hope in that. Thank You for Your innocent blood. You have not forgotten me.