O J Simpson and the Bigger O J in All of Us
He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” – Jesus (John 8:7)
Here is the story of a woman who knew what was honorable and decent to do, but did the opposite. She knew certainly that if you are caught in adultery, at all, not to talk of being caught in a public place, you will be totally defenseless; and not when you know the dire consequences of such obscene behavior. When you are caught in adultery in those days, it was death penalty by public stoning. So, the Pharisees and the Scribes (Political and Religious leaders) brought the woman, guilty as charged, dead on arrival before the Lord, the ultimate Judge of the heavens and the earth. O. J. Simpson, a former American football star and actor was tried and acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend twenty-two years ago in a high-profile criminal trial. By world standard, that was the end of story once an accused was pronounced not guilty unless there is a higher judicial panel that overturns that judgement. Not all judgments in the court of this world are righteous. Many of the judgements in our courts can be said to be unfair and sometimes immoral but they are what we have. One reason why our societies are divided over various pronouncements of court is as a result of the inconsistencies that are often prevalent in these judgements. Two similar cases, same narratives and same conclusions may result in different judgements, one acquittal while the other a guilty verdict; and when both are pronounced guilty, the sentences may be way off in differences that will usually create surprises in the public. This is because in this world we are all unrighteous people sitting before unrighteous judges. The difference between us at that point in time is that one is a judge and the other is an accused.
Luckily for the woman who was caught in adultery, she was dragged before a righteous Judge. The case was prosecuted by the best lawyers in the city with the accused having no attorney to defend her because no one would defend a dead case. But the judge quoted some strange but TRUE clause outside the constitution which no prosecutor had considered in their arguments, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And while the Judge had ended writing the summary of His sentence, He looked up probably to read His verdicts and observed that all the prosecutors and accusers had disappeared. Jesus asked the accused woman who apparently was the only one remaining in the court room. “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And the Judge said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11). We never got to hear about the free woman after this lucky chance given to her by the Lord. The law of God says whatever evil a man sows, that he shall also reap. Paul told the Galatian church members, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal 6:7) If we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, we will also reap happiness and success. Nine years ago, O J Simpson got into another trouble. Life is all about personal choices in each moment of life. Each choice takes us closer to our destiny or far away from it; the best deal in life however, is to be fully aware, that we are responsible and accountable for our choices.
On Thursday, July 20, 2017, the same court of the world with all its unrighteousness gave O J Simpson a second chance in life. He was in prison for nine years for alleged robbery and alive nine years after to be set free to another chance in freedom. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and Sadducees of America are divided as usual over a conviction they never gave or a freedom delivered to O J not by their choice but by the will of an American court. In their rants and divisions, racially biased, they wanted O J either to remain in prison or die. Many of them are still calling the minds of people back to twenty-two years past event; but they forgot that O J was found criminally guilty only nine years ago and not for murder but robbery. America is in total spiritual darkness that most people see only themselves as good while the rest of us are bad. They see everything that happens not good if it does not go by their scripts. Hypocrites are increasing daily in the world and many of us are a part of the bunch. Jesus addressed the hypocrites (incidentally, the same Pharisees and Sadducees) while He was on earth, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the SPECK in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the PLANK in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Mat 7:1-5)
The concern today in our society is that when an event occurs, the discuss around it will always turn biased and racial and all this we choose to do, not because we seriously believe in our race but to bury the truth and objectivity and from our perverse minds to promote personal interest above the collective good of mankind. In 2016, at the heat of the outcome of the elections which no one but God won, I recall that a black man had suggested that the outcome of the election was white lash; suggesting that only white people voted for Trump. And we know that was not true. It is a serious concern when we cannot promote harmony but have harbored deep hatred for one another, for personal reasons. We keep looking for and plotting the downfall of others but we forget that we cannot kill a man if God has not determined he would die in our hands. Trump’s administration has been subjected to probes and investigations not because Trump has done anything that no other man has done either as president, private citizen or politician but because some individuals determine not to see him succeed. A man of God had said, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). O J Simpson will be out of prison a free man, come, October 1, 2017; not by the will of man but by the will of God. Ninety-nine percent of those who expressed anger, hatred, and oppose his freedom are probably worse in their private conduct and character. If some of them are caught, a court will possibly put them in many years of jail without parole. They are incensed against OJ because they are ignorant of the fact that their secret sins, though not known to man, are known to God the righteous Judge.
America is groaning under the burden and trouble of race. And the issue will never go away because we keep talking and expressing it. Anyone who sees differently from our perspective is an enemy. I believe Christian Spirit can make the difference. Life is too short to be lived around discriminations and bitterness towards one another based on our color, tongue or birth origin. All colors are created God and no one of them is superior to the other. No one can stop a black man who puts his trust in the Lord and is determined to succeed; and vis-versa with other races in the America society. The events of the past must be let go, so that we can lead purposeful lives and fulfil our destiny. In the same America, we found successful black men and women. Ben Carson is one of the most blessed surgeons around the world; and today the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He never allowed race issues to distract him. He has been a blessing to blacks, whites and other colors around the world. He is currently serving the nation alongside other whites to the glory of God. The difference between him and the racial bigots is Christ in him. Billy Graham like many white missionaries has traversed the world including African countries to persuade men and women about eternity and the imminent second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a white man; he has no business talking with blacks about their eternity, but Christ in him makes the difference. Jesus Christ is capable of healing new and old wounds and He will do it if we surrender our hurts to Him.
The decadence in our society is so severe and no one can be sure of who your friends are because everyone does what pleases them so long as their personal interests are protected. It is an issue of the heart. The wickedness of the human heart has become totally out of control in today’s world that we fight so dirty to seek for another person’s demise. Kathy Griffin sometimes this year held in her hand a semblance of president Trump's severed head on internet. For her, it was fun, but unmistakably out of a perverse heart. And so, it is with many Americans; politicians, celebrities and public servants doing unimaginable things from a wicked heart. In the Christian culture, it absurd to wish another individual death no matter the differences. Death is not a godly gift you can wish for anyone created by God. The love of God works no ill to our neighbors. Sin is at the root of man’s headaches here on earth and Satan has held many of us captive and in total darkness. We can only stem the tides of these acts of wickedness against one another by bringing God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ back to our national life. When we do this, our hatred will turn to love, our contentious behavior will turn to self-control, our outbursts of wrath will go away to usher in peace, every rivalry will turn to gentleness. Christ would become our standard and burden bearer, and we will have objective analysis of situations around us and we will appreciate the fact that if not for Christ, our prison terms under Satan would be eternal without parole. Barabbas surprisingly came out of prison as he never knew he would come out of prison alive. He later understood that his freedom was not without a price, someone paid for his freedom, and the people told him that his Substitute was the man Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Barabbas must have been in awe as he went to see the man who did not sin but died the death of a sinner. And the only right response to such grace of God should be repentance, gratitude and loyalty to Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and took our place on the cross of Calvary.
I welcome O J Simpson out of prison, you did not earn the freedom for just good behavior, Jesus paid for it. I wish you well for the rest of your life, however, I advise you to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “neither do I condemn you but go and sin no more”.
Michael Jolayemi is an author and Bible teacher. His latest book on Christian persecutions is a good read, “Sheltered through the storm: the travails and ultimate triumph of the Church.” He is also the author of “Saving America: The war we can’t ignore”