So, today had me thinking about justice.
I spent the whole day in Haitian court, all to try to reclaim a stolen generator. From 10am-5pm, in a 12×12 room. no power, no fans. 1 bench to Pastor Lex, myself, and the 3 defendents.
1 desk for the judge and the “court reporter,” who transcribed all the proceedings by hand, onto printer paper. Though we had to stop every 20 mins or so for him to make new copy paper. Each time he would staple together 2 pieces of printer paper with a sheet of carbon in between, always reusing the same carbon sheet.
Plus about 30 spectators were in and out, probably 20 or so in the room at a time, mostly friends and family of the defendants.
It was in this time, during all the testimonies that I was trying to understand in Kreyol, that I was thinking about justice.
My first thought was of the spectators, and their thoughts on the pastor and the white guy taking these people to court over a generator. Down here the assumption is that every white person is rich, so they probably had the thought that I should just go buy another one with all my money. Obviously, that’s not true on my end, but I just am starting to recognize the culture a bit. I tried to be friendly, but it is difficult knowing that they are there to support the people that you are trying to help put in jail.
But I want my generator back, so it had to go to court.
My second thought was of the movie Les Miserables. I’ve honestly never seen it the whole way through, whether the movie, the musical, or reading the book. But I know of a scene, where the recently released ex-con stays at the priest’s house. As he leaves in the morning, he steals some silver. When he is caught and taken back by the police to the priest, the priest heaps more silver on him, saying only “you forgot the best stuff. I told you to take everything as a present to help you out.” or something along those lines.
It’s such a picture of grace, I was reminded of that in this courtroom.
But I still want my generator back. So I started envisioning plea bargains to exchange, maybe making a deal that if you fess up and give us back the generator, than we drop the charges. (though it’s not my decision at all).
Then, my third thought hit. This one was a little new revelation to me. I started praying, and it helps to focus me as I pray, cause I really start thinking about what God wants instead of what I want. So my prayer ended up being something like this.
“God, let your will be done. Here’s you generator. You provided it, and you will provide another one. These are your children. They have sinned, but deal with them how you see fit.”
Now, I didn’t want “my” generator back so much. Though to be fair, it’s not my generator anyhow, it belongs to a missions organization, and they probably still want it back.
Now, I want justice to be served, but however God decides.
I think this is the best place to be. However, I am still stuck in a place of not excactly knowing what my next step should be.
Should I just let the system play it out? Leaving the judge to make the decisions? Should I pull the Les Miserables/extreme grace plea? Would this open us up to more robbery attempts?
I don’t know. So we’ll let that stew for a bit, while continuing to pray about it.
Additionally, it made me realize how glad I am to now be a judge. And it made me realize how glad I am to have a holy and righteous judge, who is also merciful and graceful. I can’t reconcile all these thoughts on a simple robbery case, and yet God does so in the complexity of human nature itself.
I’m pretty certain I can’t comprehend his justice, and that’s alright with me.