The Compassionate Judge

compassionate-judgeJoe Serna was in trouble for violating his parole. After a DUI, he had been ordered to stay sober and submit to tests every two weeks. On April 12th, though, his urinalysis came back positive.

Now, there are no excuses for DUI’s. People who drink and drive are a serious danger to society. Judge Lou Olivera knows that. And he knew that Joe had to be held accountable. But he also considered Serna’s condition as he passed judgment.

You see, Joe Serna suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder after 3 tours in Afghanistan. He received 2 purple hearts, and several other medals for his service. He survived IED’s and a suicide bomber. One night he was the sole survivor when he was trapped in a vehicle that filled with water, drowning his fellow soldiers. Because of that, he was terrified of being locked in a cell overnight.

So…what happened next is unique.

Judge Olivera was a Gulf War vet. He knows something about serving. And knowing Joe’s condition, he decided to spend the night in Serna’s prison cell with him. They ate dinner together, they talked through the night, and Joe Serna learned a new respect and appreciation for a compassionate judge.

Of course, Judge Olivera’s actions remind us of a greater love shown by the most compassionate Judge. Not only did God show compassion on us as He sentenced us, but He also took the punishment on Himself! He showed the greatest love and the greatest compassion any judge could. God is both just and the one who justifies (Romans 3:24).

God came to the earth in the form of man, His Son, Jesus, and suffered on the cross and experienced death on our behalf. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Rejoice! Our Judge has removed the penalty for those who love Him and have faith in His Son. He is with us in our hour of need. I say again, rejoice!

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