Crime and the Church

By Deon Hall

Hab 1:4  Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head. 5  “Look around at the godless nations. Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock. Something’s about to take place and you’re going to find it hard to believe.

This sounds like a quote from a South African newspaper article.  Statistics show that 95% of all crimes committed in any society are committed by only 5% of that population - an amazing statistic if you consider how rampant crime is.

One conclusion is that 95% of the population is living in fear, intimidated by 5% of the people. In a group of 100 people, 5 will be intimidating the other 95!  Surely 5 people cannot control 95 others?

When it comes to crime and lawlessness of a society, what does it reflect of such a society? What does it say of its leadership? Where are the morals and values of such a society? Perhaps most importantly, where is the voice of the church in such a society?

Listen to David’s bold statement in Ps 119:45:
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
46  Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
47  I cherish your commandments--oh, how I love them!--
48  relishing every fragment of your counsel.  (msg transl. )

Perhaps the church needs to re-adopt this attitude of David  to boldly proclaim the commandments of the Lord.

In counselling I have found that people often, when trapped in addiction to a substance or after having committed a crime, find it hard to admit to the deed, because it brings accountability into the equation.

I believe that for too long we have refrained from calling a “spade” a “spade”. We do not call sin by its name anymore. You are not only “missing the mark” when you steal! The fact is, you have stolen and you are a thief.

The church should become more outspoken. It should be “the voice in the wilderness” that proclaims the will of God. The church should step up and remind people that they are accountable.

Society will examine itself truthfully, and real change might begin to take place if the church begins to accept its respon­sibility and begins to teach values such as the following:

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honour your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.” Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (Eph 6:1-4)

Counsellors might even be left without a job…!


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Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. - Peter T. Mcintyre