Weekly Article Blog
Pastor Dan Hawn publishes a weekly article which is also emailed to members and regular attenders. Let us know if you would like to receive this weekly article via email.
“The Victim” is a 4-part series on the Britbox television network. Not many have Britbox, so it’s unlikely you’ll watch the series. On the other hand, if you plan to watch it, you might want to stop reading.
The story centers on Anna Dean, whose 9-year-old son was tortured and murdered 14 years earlier. The murderer was a 13-year-old boy whose identity was kept secret. After serving 7 years in a juvenile detention center, he was released and given a new identity.
In the ensuing years, Mrs. Dean waged a relentless battle to have the now adult man publicly identified, in part, because she was concerned for the safety of other children. However, the authorities continuously rebuffed her.
But then, a private investigator Mrs. Dean hired discovered the murderer’s new identity. His new name was Craig Myers. He was married with a young daughter. Mrs. Dean promptly released his name online and, within days, Craig was viciously assaulted in his home in front of his young daughter. Soon thereafter, his wife left him and he became a public pariah.
In view of the unlawful disclosure of his name, Mrs. Dean was arrested and put on trial for engineering the assault.
During the trial, Mrs. Dean’s investigator continued investigating and discovered evidence that they had made a horrible mistake: Craig wasn’t the murderer! Meanwhile, Mrs. Dean was found guilty and was waiting to be sentenced.
While awaiting sentencing, a justice organization recommended a process known as “restorative justice.” This is where the victim and offender meet together and there’s an opportunity to ask for & extend forgiveness.
Restorative justice is very much a biblical concept. The meeting took place in a church (which is interesting given that Great Britain is an extremely secular country).
However, during this meeting came another twist: Craig confessed to being the murderer! Mrs. Dean cried out in agony and ran from the room.
Standing in the Gap
Sometime later, Mrs. Dean and Craig met in a wooded area, the site of the murder. Craig explained the circumstances of the murder and described it in detail. While sobbing, he told Mrs. Dean how profoundly sorry he was.
At this point, Mrs. Dean’s ex-husband arrived. He had a large knife and started to walk toward Craig, intending to kill him.
At the last second, Mrs. Dean stood in front of Craig, stopping the attack and, implicitly at least, granting forgiveness to Craig.
A Gospel Metaphor
Mrs. Dean’s bold action made me think of what Christ did 2,000 years ago: he stood boldly between sinful humanity and God’s wrath in order to prevent that wrath from harming those who would believe in him.
There’s a difference, of course; namely, that while the ex-husband relented (and didn’t harm Craig), God’s wrath against sin was fully executed. The knife, as it were, was plunged into Christ and he died a horrible, painful death.
In the television series, the desire for justice (a righteous desire) had to be squelched in favor of love and forgiveness. At the cross, both justice and love received their full, glorious expression.