The Cities of Refuge
The LORD also spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Appoint for yourselves cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the slayer who kills a person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there; and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he flees to one of those cities, and stands at the entrance of the gate of the city, and declares his case in the hearing of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city as one of them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. Then if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not deliver the slayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unintentionally, but did not hate him beforehand. And he shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the slayer may return and come to his own city and his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”
In recent days, the world has watched the trial of Casey Anthony. We saw all the evidence – or lack of evidence, depending on your point of view – right before our very eyes. We were allowed seats in the courtroom and we became jury and judge within our hearts. But we did not get to push any buttons to actually choose. Only 12 truly appointed men and women got to voice their votes in a way that counted. Her fate was decided without me. The problem is, I know too much – or think I do -- and so do you, and so do literally millions of others.
I just wonder, where will Casey go? She has been acquitted and will soon be free. But will she ever be truly free? Where can she go that she won’t be recognized? Where can she go where she will be treated as completely “innocent?” Our voyeurism has stolen from her a basic right – the presumption of innocence -- that we are innocent until proven guilty.
I heard recently that in Scotland they have a third category for judgment: guilty, not guilty, and “not proven.” At first, I thought, that sounds great. We want to put a mark on those people who we think are guilty of getting away with something. But, upon further reflection, I know that is definitely NOT the American way. How would I feel if I had not been proven guilty, but everywhere I went people acted as though I was guilty?
I pray that Casey can find a city of refuge, to be free from the assumption of guilt, and move on to find the true source of refuge in Jesus Christ – the only real hope for anyone of us.