Judge Civarella of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton area had a pointed nickname, “Mr. Zero Tolerance”. He was a big supporter of harsh sentences…for kids. Judge Ciavarella sent thousand of children to a local detention center during his tenure as a Luzurne County judge. Think the kids deserved it? Listen to this: he sent an 11-year-old to juvenile detention for almost two years after the kid took his mom’s car for a ride down the block. He also sent a 15-year-old to the same detention facility for mocking her assistant principal on MySpace and gave a 17-year-old five months for helping steal DVDs. Good ole-fashioned judge, huh?
Well come to find out, “Mr. Zero Tolerance” got kickbacks from the facility where he sent those kids. No wonder the hearings often lasted only two minutes, Ciavarella got up to a million dollars for putting hundred of innocent children behind bars. The courts wised up to his plans, and eventually sentenced Judge Ciavarella to 27 years in prison. Another crooked judge in the annuls of human/legal history.
That said, our reading today reminds us that there is another Judge in this world, a Judge who is unmistakably true and just in all of his judgments. We read is Ps. 58:11, “So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.” I love that last phrase, “there is a God that judgeth on the earth.” A Judge who sees all that is going on, including the the injustices and crookedness of the wicked, and will therefore render His judgments accordingly. A Judge who can not be bought off, misled or inaccurate. This thought is echoed in Romans 2:2, which reads, “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” A proper understanding of these verses should result in a proper fear of God as we understand our motives, thoughts and actions are open “unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:13)