If you look at the news today, you will notice a lot of different things. Murders, shootings, riots, and hate fill the airwaves from multiple media sources. It makes you wonder if the world is really getting worse or if media if only focusing on the bad. Maybe it’s a little of both.
With each issue that pops up, it seems our society is quick to want to legislate the problem away. When more shootings occur, people want to pass more gun-control laws. When crime such as theft happens by a drug user, people want to further criminalize drug users. When people perceive they are being treated unfairly, they want to pass laws against prejudice.
But is the problem truly a lack of legislation?
There was a time when we actually respected the law. If that were the case today, then perhaps more legislation could cure the disease of lawlessness we find in today’s society. But more legislation when people barely know or adhere to the existing law will do little good.
I truly believe we need a greater respect for the law.
Consider this; on every highway, there is a posted speed limit stating that it is unlawful to exceed the posted speed limit. Does that law or sign physically stop people from exceeding the speed limit? No. Most people either adjust their speed to whatever they believe they can get away with, or simply ignore it altogether, believing they will not get caught.
There are two contributing factors in this decision-making process;
1) I won’t get caught
2) Even if I get caught, I can talk my way out of it, or I’ll just get a warning, and if that doesn’t work, the fine isn’t that much anyways
There is no respect for the law because we’ve created a culture that doesn’t discourage lawlessness. The idea that “I won’t get caught” suggests a lack in law enforcement and the idea that the fine “isn’t that much” would suggest penalty for lawlessness isn’t severe enough to dissuade breaking the law.
This morning I was reading in Numbers 15. If you read verses 32-36, you will find that there was man who was in the wilderness gathering wood on the Sabbath and that man was stoned to death by the whole assembly of Israel for violating the law of not working on the Sabbath.
Can you imagine that happening today in America?
The guy wasn’t shooting people or rioting. He wasn’t committing hate crimes. He didn’t rape anyone. All he did was gather some sticks in the woods. Yet he was stoned to death. Many of us would think that a bit extreme. But the entire point here was for God to instill in us a healthy and reverent respect of His Law.
Am I suggesting that we issue the death sentence for every lawbreaker? No. But I definitely believe there is room for improvement regarding the creation of culture that respects the law. I believe we could make the punishment for lawlessness a bit more severe. I believe we could make a greater effort in enforcing the law. The whole point to not to punish people but rather dissuade them from lawlessness in the first place.
I can promise you if I knew I would be stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, I would never violate the Sabbath again. Indeed, if they increased the fine for speeding from a couple hundred bucks to a year of jail time and increased the amount of State Troopers patrolling the highways, I’m sure I’d never speed again too.
And isn’t that the point? To dissuade the breaking of the law in the first place? It comes from respect.