UNJUST SCALES [At this time shall Michael stand up- the prince that stands for the children of thy people- Daniel 12:1]
This week I want to cover a subject that I have been thinking about for a few years now.
Over the years I have sort of become an advocate for the Poor- and for those in the criminal justice system- who get mistreated.
Now- I am NOT AGAINST guys being sent to prison for crimes and stuff- having to pay their dues.
But there are many cases that you become aware of- both because I worked with law enforcement for years- as well as the many years working with ex-cons and stuff.
Over the years the guys at the Fire Dept. used to kid me ‘hey John- one of your convict buddies came by looking for you the other day’.
These were friends I made over the years- preaching at the jails and stuff.
When they got out- they knew I worked at the Fire Dept. and they would come by and see me.
So- I speak as someone who has been around for a while.
By the way- I will also give some examples [if I remember] how the abuse of law has even come up against good law abiding people.
Yes- a recent case I read from a New York Times piece.
Well might as well start with this one.
Over the years many local law enforcement agencies- by states passing new laws- became dependent on confiscating large amounts of cash as they stop cars on the highway.
The Fire Dept. I worked for in Kingsville- though a small town- made a lot of drug busts off one of the main arteries from Mexico to the states.
We actually got tired of the S.O. [Sheriff’s office] and P.D. [Police dept.] calling us to use our Jaws of Life cutters to cut open the gas tanks of vehicles and stuff.
Our equipment- though well able to tear into these vehicles- was not meant to get all the wear and tear from stuff like this.
Our tools were purchased- at quite a high price- for emergency rescue- not for cutting cars to find drugs.
But- these local agencies became dependent on the money.
And the laws were so lax- that even if you found ‘grandma’ with her retirement cash- yeah- they took it.
Yes- the recent case I read was a woman- an older lady- who had her retirement money that she just cashed out for some reason- I think to move it into another bank or something.
Ok- maybe she had close to a million- Old lady- not a criminal.
She got stopped by one of these agencies- and they took the cash.
The law allowed them to take it.
Now- you would think she got it back- right?
They scanned the money for any trace of drugs- and sure enough- some traces of pot were detected on the cash.
Walla- grandma was a dealer!
She had all the proof and records to show it was indeed her retirement money.
But- the statistics show that a certain percentage of all money has a trace of drugs on them.
Simply because of the odds.
If you have a lot of cash- like the woman had- at some point some of these bills might have been handled by someone with pot on their hands.
Heck- maybe even the bank teller smoked a doobie before work?
But- after the law enforcement agency had the cash- remember- many depend on the cash for end of the year bonuses- or new equipment.
Yeah- the laws were set up to give incentive for the law agencies to WANT THE MONEY.
The law agency took this lady all the way to the Supreme Court.
She spent a large portion of her money to simply get back some of it.
That was unjust.
Maybe the law agency justified it ‘well- she should have known better than to carry cash that might have been tainted’.
Maybe so- but the agency still tried to bankrupt grandma- even though they knew it was really her retirement cash.
Ok- I give this example [and a few others in the next post or 2] to simply enlighten us all about what I call UNJUST SCALES.
In the book of Proverbs it says God detests unjust scales.
Meaning when the law abuses citizens God will not hold them guiltless- even those in the system.
This abuse ranges from the example I just gave- to even those who abuse actual criminals.
Yes- God also detests it when the system abuses those who are actually in prison for crimes they committed [I’ll teach this from Genesis chapter 4- the story of Cain- the first recorded murder in scripture].
A few verses ‘Those who sin outside the law will be judged outside the law- those who sin IN THE LAW will be judged by it’.
‘God will judge those who frame mischief by a law’.
‘When the Holy Spirit comes he will reprove the world of [various things]... and of judgment- because the prince of this world is judged’.
Isn’t that satan.
But if you read- carefully- Psalms 82- it talks about God judging the Princes of this world.
In context- it’s speaking about those who have been given authority- yes- by God.
Kings- cops- etc.
And when they abuse this authority- one of the ministries of the Spirit- is to also bring those agencies- govts under judgment.
OK- let me give just a few local examples that have been reported for many years.
I want to be careful here- many of the examples of police abuse are indeed from guys that have long criminal records.
These are street guys- but their records are for minor offenses.
Many arrested for Public Intoxication- trespassing- stuff like that.
But- after hearing- and being told personally by these guys- about the same thing [cops destroying personal property- cutting tents- etc.]
After hearing it for 25 years- from different people- over time there must be some validity to it.
One guy at the homeless mission said one day ‘yeah- the guys buy drugs at that cops rental properties- how can this happen’?
This was simply a local homeless guy- maybe an addict- but even to him- he was surprised that criminal activity went on openly in full view- with the rental houses that this cop owns.
NOTE- I know this to be true- I have worked with guys who live in these apts- and yes- drug dealing goes on regularly at these properties.
I also held some bible studies in an apt. at these places- so this is something I can vouch for.
Does the cop know about this?
He must- most of the homeless guys are talking about him when they have complaints- they all know each other in this area [note- I do not think the cop approves of it- or is involved in it- I just think he bought these places in a bad area. And he probably can’t stop it from going on. I used to work with street guys who lived in these places- just yesterday I was with 2 of them- Bill and Larry- they were complaining about not being able to get the stove fixed! So- I kind of can empathize with this cop- he might just be in over his head with the property itself- I used to own rental houses- it can be a tough job].
Ok- just a few complaints I hear on a fairly regular basis.
Just recently one of the homeless guys told me that a local cop saw a regular drunk- nick named Alabama- the cop gave him 3 dollars and told him to guy by a beer and pass out in the brush.
This young kid- Alabama- will be drunk in public- and this makes the cop’s job busy [to keep arresting these guys- booking them- bringing them to the jail takes time. Like fire fighters- you do your job- but when you get calls that you consider nuisance calls- like when they called us because there were bees on a tree- yeah- you get annoyed].
So maybe the cop didn’t want to have to arrest the kid- and he gave him 3 bucks and told him to get drunk.
John [I’ll hold the last names on these] a guy who stayed at our halfway house.
One day he was at the bus stop- a cop pulled up and said ‘what are you up to’?
John says- not in a smart ass way ‘Just enjoying Gods beautiful day’.
The cop slams the cop car into park- gets out- calls him a smart ass- and yeah- he got arrested.
John tells me ‘how can they do this’.
The cop must simply falsify the report- which can happen in cases where you are arresting a guy with a track record.
So maybe the cop put some type of other minor offense on the report- and yeah- John went to the local jail and probably made some plea and Walla- nothing to it [for the cop- but my friend had to do time in the local jail- then go to court- do a plea- all for simply saying he’s enjoying Gods day].
Huey- the same cop who owns the apts I mentioned- told him one year ‘leave the bluff- if you ever come back- I’ll arrest you’ [this is Huey’s side- I don’t know the cops side- that’s why I leave the name out].
One day Huey came back- he was living out of town.
Huey says as soon as the cop sees him- he was arrested.
Huey asks ‘what did I do’?
It was- according to Huey- another case where the cop just would make up some other minor offense- and lie on the report.
‘John- do cops really do this’?
I worked with cops for 25 years- most of them were good guys- but yes- some [not all!] do stuff like this.
Not all of them- most of these examples are about one local guy- who I know.
But after so many reports- you have to wonder what’s going on.
Henry is a homeless friend- he does look the part- scruffy beard and all.
But he is really a straight arrow.
Doesn’t mess with drugs- I have never seen him drunk.
And over the years I have taken Henry with me on ministry trips- he is a smart Christian believer.
One day Henry says ‘yeah John- last night the cops put me in handcuffs’.
From what he says- no reason at all.
Most people don’t realize that when you get one bad cop- who maybe has a grudge against one homeless guy- that cop will do this many times over.
So- these are simply some local examples [I leave the cops name out- but he has been reported to the higher ups many times- and has recently been removed from the Bluff- where this happens].
Most cops [just like Fire Fighters] are well meaning people- they struggle with things like everyone else.
But when you have examples- like the friend that got arrested for saying ‘just enjoying Gods day’.
These stories really bother me.
My friend Henry- who by the way is a Deacon for Church Without Walls- a good homeless ministry here where I live.
When you get a cop that arrests you- specifically because you mention God- like the above example.
That’s really a problem.
I’m not giving the cops name- because I do know that I am only hearing one side of the case.
But after hearing this for 25 years- from hundreds of different sources- you begin to believe it.
Ok- This is another example of unjust scales- or those who would use their authority to carry out personal vendettas.
These are things that God hates.
Just as much as the actual crimes that some of the homeless also do.
Yes- for the most part- when guys get arrested on the street- they are indeed violating the law.
But God wants all in the system to abide by the law- not just the ones without a badge.
NOTE- I have been wanting to cover this issue for a while. I felt this week was the time. Just yesterday as I sat at the local mission. A new guy walks in- beat up.
He says ‘the cops just beat the sh.. out of me’.
His name is Timothy [aka Slim].
He is homeless and was sleeping in South Bluff Park.
He said they kicked him- he was sleeping- he got scared [didn’t know who was kicking him] and stood up.
That’s when he says it happened.
I took a picture of his bruises and will post them to Facebook.
I don’t know both sides- maybe he was aggressive to them and they had to throw him on the ground- that is possible.
I just thought it strange that this is the first time I have ever seen this guy- and he walked in with this story.
MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
Over these past years as I have advocated for- and prayed for these cases [I collect lots of newspaper clippings of people- often young kids- who commit severe crimes. I put them on a prayer wall and pray for them over the years].
I do not pray for them to ‘get off’ of the crime.
But that the system would not unjustly come against them.
For instance- prison rape is rampant- and at times accepted and or used as a means for some in the system to ‘get’ people they don’t like.
Many prisoners- young ones- have been raped by older men.
The system often lets this happen.
This too is unjust.
I mentioned above about the first recorded murder in the bible.
Genesis 4- the story of Cain who killed his brother Abel.
This chapter is where we get the famous phrase ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’?
God asks Cain where his brother is- after Cain killed him.
And this is the response Cain gave.
But as I recently read this chapter- I saw something that is often overlooked while reading this story.
In the chapter it says that God punished Cain for his sin.
He will be a wanderer for the rest of his life.
The ground [his work efforts] will amount to little.
He will live a cursed life.
Now- Cain says to God ‘my punishment is too much- everyone who sees me will slay me’.
Cain is afraid that others will take it upon themselves to go beyond the actual punishment that God [or society] deemed worthy.
Much like those in the system- Cops- jailers- etc. who take it upon themselves to go beyond the prisoner’s actual sentence- and maybe even beat the captive up.
So- when Cain tells God he’s afraid others will do this.
God puts a MARK on Cain [some speculate what it is- the point is God is going to protect Cain].
Sometimes teachers/preachers see this mark in a negative way.
But actually it was a mark of protection.
God ‘marks’ him and says ‘all who try and get Cain- on them vengeance will be repaid- 7 fold’ [by the way- that’s where the current rock group that’s their name].
The point is in God’s justice system- yes- he requires punishment for sin.
But he also in a sense protects the prisoner- the one who commits the crime.
Not that the criminal gets of Scott free- but that God takes seriously when those in the system try and carry out more than the courts have declared.
Ok- over the years as I began praying specifically for the prisoners I memorized a prayer pattern- which I pray weekly for the prisoner.
These are just a few verses I use.
‘Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee and according to the greatness of thy power preserve those that are appointed unto death’
‘Remember not against us former sins but let thy mercies speedily prevent us’
‘Pour out thy wrath [judgment] on the systems that do not know thee and the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name’
When you ‘collect’ the prayers of the prisoners- you are tapping into many real prayers.
Men and women who have indeed committed serious crimes- and you enter into their brokenness- their repentance and their grief.
Jesus himself went into the ‘lower parts of the earth- hell- and led captivity captive- and gave gifts unto men’.
I have also incorporated the imagery of Michael the Archangel in this.
In Daniel 12:1 it says ‘at this time shall Michael your prince stand up- the prince that stands for the children of thy people’
Michael is also spoken about in the book of Revelation.
In Christian tradition/art- [statues as well as paintings]
Michael is depicted as a messenger of God who binds satan.
Some of the images show him with a sword in his hand- others have a pair of scales.
Scales represent Gods judgment on the courts/law.
They deal with this whole subject of unjust law- when those in the system do the stuff I’m talking about in this post.
Last year when I dealt with a lot of my own legal stuff- I felt like God was going to do some judgment on the local system.
I bought a one way ticket to Newark New Jersey.
I thought I might move back for good.
As I was waiting for the day to go- July 2013.
I felt like God was going to work in this stuff.
The other day I read a surprising story in the paper.
A local judge [Tom Greenwell] shot himself- in his chambers.
He killed himself in July- right after I flew out.
The news didn’t report it till now.
I don’t know why he shot himself- but the sheriff’s dept. is now going back and investigating the cases he had.
To see if he might have been involved in any illegal rulings.
As I write this week- there are many examples I can give about ‘bad cops’.
Just recently there was a Federal bust made on a South Texas Sherif’s commander- and some local cops.
They were in what was called the Panama Unit- a special division that targeted crime.
Instead of stopping crime- they were working with Mexico/Texas drug dealers.
They were stopping drug runners from Mexico into Texas and stealing the drugs for re-sale.
When I got back from New Jersey one day I was talking to a friend- old guy.
Actually it was Pop’s- the guy I wrote about a few posts ago.
Pops told me about Judge Mary.
I have heard of her before- she was an ex judge who retired from the bench and tried to help the local drug addicts.
Sort of like my story.
It interested me.
But Pops told me something I never knew.
Judge Mary convicted a local guy- and he was put to death.
Later- according to Pop’s- they found out she convicted an innocent man.
Now- when pops first told me this- I believed him- but am also aware that the anti-death penalty advocates [of which I am one] have been looking for a case like this for years.
So I wondered if pops got the story right.
But later I remembered that sure enough- the one case that the anti-death penalty folks have been looking at is the case of Carlos Deluna.
Which is a local case that involved the execution of some guy- who they said later might have been a case of mistaken identity.
Either way- I guess this was the case that Judge Mary ruled on.
Mary eventually died living in a rundown hotel- known in the area where we have our half way house as a drug/prostitution hotel.
She died living in that rundown place- the addicts she was trying to help used all her money.
And this was a sort of a self-imposed Purgatory for Mary- she too came under a self-imposed judgment for her possible hand in the death of an innocent man- with the law as her tool.
As I end this post- a few things.
First- how should we- Christians- view the law?
The bible says ‘great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them’.
‘Obey every law of man for the Lords sake’.
The apostle Peter even says ‘obey the authorities- not only the good and gentle- but also the forward [rude- pushy ones]’
‘For they are the ministers of God unto thee for good’
‘They are the servants of God carrying out his will’
I could go on.
But the point I want to make is our response to the law should be that we love the law- and obey it.
I’m careful not to side too much with my homeless friends when I hear their complaints about the local cops.
Because I know that many of them bring it on themselves- by continuing to break the law.
Another verse says ‘those who sin will break the law- because sin is the breaking of the law’.
One last example.
I sold my van to a good friend last year.
I know these guys from the streets- and this friend was doing good- had a good job- was clean for almost a year [he uses Meth and alcohol].
Over time he relapsed- paid me about half of the payments [750.00] and offered to drop the van off at my house.
I was in the NY area at the time- he called me and told me.
I told him keep the van- considered it paid- and get clean.
But before I left Texas- my buddy would offer to give me rides- I had no car at the time- and I sold the van.
But I noticed- he just refused [couldn’t?] stop at the stop signs.
I mean he just blew right thru them- not even a rolling stop.
After a while- I just avoided riding with him.
I wasn’t worried about an accident- but the van was still under my name to a degree- and my friend more than likely was high/or drinking on some of these occasions.
It wasn’t a secret- but I did not want to get stopped by the cops- and he was making it easy to get stopped!
But it showed me- that many of the complaints [he did get stopped one day- without me- and went on about how the cop was harassing him- but I knew he deserved to get stopped- he was running every stop sign in town!].
So I end this post with that.
I pray regularly for those in authority- as the bible says.
There are some- not the majority- but some- who are ‘in the law’ and yet break the law.
I pray for them as well [recently I added Adam Garibay to my list- a local Border Patrol agent who shot and killed his wife’s lover a few days ago].
God hates unjust scales- that is he hates it when the law is not applied evenly.
Go also loves mercy.
The bible says mercy rejoices against judgment.
Don’t look for vengeance- don’t try and ‘get even’.
Forgive- pray- and if you see/hear about injustice in the system- then yes- it’s also your obligation to report it.
I have found it beneficial to report it to not only local authorities- but federal as well.
Not little stuff- but cases were you hear that maybe some law enforcement were involved in killing some homeless guy [which over the years- I have heard stuff like this].
So- if you think that something serious like this might have happened -yeah- I get as much info as possible- and I send multiple letters out.
I don’t simply pass rumors- but am honest- and say these are some things that have been talked about for a while- I simply ask that you might look into it.
Never lie- or mislead.
But if- over time- you keep hearing the same thing- from various sources- about specific people.
Then yes- it’s ok to report it.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBoook] - I have posted lots.