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March 25 – Self Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prevents a person from having to incriminate themselves. Police must stop questioning a suspect when they invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and ask for a lawyer. That doesn’t mean that they can’t check social media while waiting for the lawyer to appear. In these days, there are too many criminals who expose themselves on social media. Take Chris Crego who ran from an assault charge against him in New York. He cleverly ran to Terre Haute, Indiana where no one would think of looking for him – unless they looked at his Facebook account which included his new location, his new work and work hours, and a copy of the wanted picture from a newspaper in the town.

People too often prove that old adage that if you give someone enough rope, they’ll hang themselves. Criminals will brag about their successes and get caught. God had a way of helping people incriminate themselves: He used parables. Nathan told a parable that enraged David who ordered that the perpetrator be executed. Then Nathan confronted David with the truth that He was the guilty party after committing adultery with Bathsheba and arranging for Uriah’s death. Jesus told parables that targeted the Pharisees and they didn’t see the punch line coming. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” (Matthew 21:40-41)

It was a simple story of a landowner with tenant farmers. Tenant farmers, for those of us from the city, would live on someone else’s land and cultivate it. They would pay the landowner from the harvest. As Jesus told the parable, these tenant farmers began to rebel. When the landowner sent his servants, the beat, stoned, and killed the servants. Finally, the landowner sent his son to collect the rent and the tenants beat and killed him thinking that they could keep everything. Jesus asked what should be done with them, and the Pharisees came up with the right answer: execute the tenants and get new ones who would follow the law. Jesus let the Pharisees and the religious leaders know that they would suffer that fate. They had killed the prophets and now that the Son had come, they were getting ready to kill Him, too.

Have you ever noticed in life that the people who seem to complain the most are often the ones who caused the problems in the first place? Or, as one wag put it, “The only consistent feature in all your dissatisfying relationships is you.” Using the tenant farmer analogy, God has placed us on this world to cultivate and grow crops – or, in plain terms, reveal God’s glory to others to help them experience the joy of life in Christ. We are, going back to the analogy, the replacement tenant farmers. We have experienced the joy of life in Christ and we need to show that joy every day. That doesn’t mean every day will be perfect. We all have bad days. Sometimes those bad days just happen, but other times, they happen because we do stupid, sinful things and lose our joy until we “self-incriminate” and confess our sins to God and seek His forgiveness. God is merciful and will forgive our sins when we turn to Him. That gives us the freedom to go back to loving and caring for others as Jesus would do if He were present.

Oh Lord, it would be so easy to complain about the problems I face and forget about my part in causing those problems. Forgive me when I fail You. Forgive my sins and restore the joy of salvation to me. Let my life and my words show others of Your greatness and mercy.


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