People are getting wound up over the verdict today of the trial of mom Casey Anthony of the death of her daughter Caylee. The verdict was not guilty. The web lit up, Facebook lit up, Twitter lit up. People are at turns outraged, aghast, angry, sorrowful…. I’m not. I’m not anything.
I didn’t watch the trial. I didn’t even know it was going on. I had to look up the names Caylee and Casey to correctly make this blog entry. I am sad that a little girl was killed and there seems to be no earthly justice on her killer. That is bad. I am sad that children are neglected, abused, murdered in the US and all over the world. This week it was reported that a father raped his 6-month-old baby son and gave him HIV. His case goes to the Grand Jury on July 11. I could recount many headlines like that one, which I won’t because they’re awful and gross, but children are murdered every day and their case is sometimes satisfied by justice and sometimes it is not.
I didn’t watch the OJ trial either. Now, people are saying things like “There goes the justice system!” Well, after OJ was pronounced not guilty there went the justice system, people said. How about the President of the United States Bill Clinton, lying within a legal proceeding and obstructing justice? In my opinion, that did much to damage the justice system.
The fact is, there are big trials all the time. There is “huge news” all the time. Each verdict seems to impact and damage the justice system irreparably, and maybe that is so- for a time.
I have a book called “Forgotten News: The Crime of the Century, and Other Forgotten Stories” by Jack Finney, author of “Time and Again. It is a book of news that was reported, tracked, trials, and intrigue and murder and justice. In the biggest case in the book, a trial of the killer of NY dentist Harvey Burdell in the mid 1800s was explained. It was said to the the most celebrated crime of the century. The NY Times discussed it here in 2007 when a book about the forgotten crime was released. Do you remember the case now? It was the crime of the century.
The other case Finney relates is the sinking of the SS Central America off the coast of Florida in i857. At the time of her sinking, the Central America carried gold then valued at approximately $2 million USD. 300 crew and passengers died, and the loss of the gold was a tremendous loss to investors and the stock market. The loss of the gold shook public confidence in the economy, and contributed to the Panic of 1857. The book “Ship of Gold, In The Deep Blue Sea”, by Gary Kinder is a compelling and un-put-downable book about the ship’s sinking and the aftermath, and of the modern day treasure hunt to find all that gold.
The point is, at the time, people thought the news of the events, either the murder or the ship’s loss, would be remembered forever. Each in their way they impacted the culture at the time but it really was a short time until the news was forgotten.
I’m not diminishing the emotions attached to the Casey Anthony trial, but really, as a Christian, it is emblematic to me of the misuse of time we spend. We squander our time in all sorts of ways. It is obvious that the legal system is set up by man and therefore is flawed. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. All things set up by man are flawed because man is flawed. Why rail over it?
The only thing that is not flawed is Jesus. We are put on this earth to glorify Him by making disciples. Witnessing to fallen humanity is or should be the motivation for everything we do. Sitting hunched in front of a television watching a pointless trial does not uplift His name.
Ephesians 5:16 says we should be “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” In John MacArthur’s commentary today “Redeeming the time” he expounded on that verse, saying, “God has set boundaries to our lives, and our opportunity for service exists only within those boundaries. It is significant that the Bible speaks of such times being shortened, but never of their being lengthened. A person may die or lose an opportunity before the end of God’s time, but he has no reason to expect his life or his opportunity to continue after the end of his predetermined time. … Paul pleads for us to make the most of our time immediately after he pleads for us to walk wisely rather than foolishly. Outside of purposeful disobedience of God’s Word, the most spiritually foolish thing a Christian can do is to waste time and opportunity, to fritter away his life in trivia and in half–hearted service of the Lord.
How much time did you waste watching the trial? How much time are you wasting talking about it, stewing about it, watching or reading follow-up on it? Today’s news will be forgotten news, but Jesus is forever.