Discernment vs. Shortsightedness


Justice and Mercy.

In 1982 I was pastoring a church in Waterford, MI. A woman called from Ohio saying that her son was in jail in my county and asked if I would go to see him. The Chaplin for the jail was a member of my church. So I asked him what he knew about this 27 year old in jail. He said he had never talked with him but that he was guilty.

I thought that that was judgmental and ignored it. He set me up to visit. When I went to see him he cried crocodile tears (I have never seen a crocodile cry but saw what my mother described as crocodile tears which qualified me to describe them.)

His trial lasted a year. I visited him often in jail and every time he went to court. When I went into the court room with him he never cried but only demanded justice. He did what he could to explain away all of the evidence against him.

Once I suggested that I would see if Lester Roloff would take him. Lester Roloff had 6 orphanages. He took the worst often when the juvenile system would not even take them then Lester Roloff would get them and see a complete life change.

The judge said I could have 5 minutes in chambers the following month. When I walked in the door he said that is far enough; what do you have? He had a large office. Both lawyers were there close to him. I was at least 20 feet away.

Lester Roloff had sent me a package of cases that should convince any judge. I began with the first one. About 20 seconds into my speech the judge hollered out: “I said 5 minutes.” I thought to myself okay let me have it, but instead I went to the end of the list because I was saving the best for last.

I told the story of a man on trial for 9 counts of child molestation and Circuit Judge Sandra Day O’Connor sentencing him to Roloff’s home.  (This was shortly after Sandra Day O’Connor had been appointed to the US Supreme Court.)  He said okay you have my attention go on.

Then I told of a young man that had held up a service station with a machine gun, graduated from Roloff’s, and was in Bible College. I finished my 5 minutes and was dismissed.

I will finish the story tomorrow. What do you think happened?

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