Deep Loss


Author: Brendon O'Dowd, USAF (Ret.)

120331-BS505-443. Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC By 2.0

I arrived at the prison’s visitor center and asked to see an airman recently convicted of a crime.

Mistakes & Reality

As instructed by the guard, I emptied my pockets, listened to the rules, and proceeded to a sterile and empty room.  Another guard escorted the airman into the room and he nervously sat down across from me.  He knew he had committed a felony that cost him his career and his family.  Additionally, he was broken and without much hope. What if I volunteered to take his place?

The convening authority would have to be approached and I would have to convince him or her that I was serious about the exchange. I would have to accept his jail time, his Dishonorable Discharge (DD), and loss of pay as my own.  I would have to forfeit all to give him a second chance. But what if he left prison and made the same mistake again?  My efforts would be wasted, and we would both be in jail.

We live within a system of justice. Promotion testing has failures, we make critical mistakes, break the law, and we suffer the consequences.  We deserve what we get—justice.  It can be a harsh system, but it maintains good order and discipline.

Amazing Grace

Think of another scenario. What if the General Court Martial, instead of convicting this military member, recommended a promotion and a medal for meritorious service?  As a result, we would be outraged because he deserved punishment not a reward. Decisions like this create total chaos and mock our system of justice.

Yet, at God’s General Court Martial, He reviews our life and instead of determining us guilty, He hands down a sentence of Not Guilty.  Instead of a DD, we receive accommodations and accolades. Where is the justice in that? It’s found in Jesus.  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Justice is still accomplished because Jesus pays for our wrong deeds while also giving us His right standing with the ultimate authority—God, the Father.  He loves us enough to pay what we owe.  Therefore, He reinstates us and rewards us.

If you faced God today at a Court Martial how would you plead?  Your only hope is found in Jesus who willingly takes your place and gives you a new start.  Ask Him to stand in for you today.

Photos: (By US Air Force, Licensed under CC by NC 2.0) (By US Air Force, Licensed under US Govt Work)

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