It is concept I have been studying and listening to speakers about for the last couple of days. There are some very compelling speakers who argue for the decriminalization of drugs and prostitution anyone who has a computer can listen to on TED talks and other places on the internet.
What laws will help and protect the most people? It is good question. Many approaches have been tried and some of them end up hurting the most vulnerable people involved instead of helping them. Some laws leave to much room for corruption and abuse.
Here are a few scriptures that came to mind as I have been studying and hashing these issues out in my mind.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire." - Matthew 5:17-22 ESV
"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." - Romans 8:3-6 NKJV
Regulation is always going to be 'weak through the flesh' but God does not relax His standards. As a matter of fact he 'ups the ante' of morality by telling us that external crimes have meaning to God but internal crimes do also.
This meditation made me think of the street I live on and the children running around outside on it. What if there was no speed limit or theft was decriminalized? How safe would they be? I care deeply for the addict and his or her recovery but I also don't want a drug den or a brothel right down my street.
I listened to all the benefits that were proposed by the speakers who were pitching decriminalization and thought. Wow. Grace gives me those things. My God loves me and gives me freedom to self govern myself with His guidance and direction. Grace never gives me a criminal record. Grace supports me. Grace teaches me and helps me to deny all ungodliness and worldly lust.
Grace does all this without removing the law. Grace gives me aerodynamics to balance the gravity of the law without removing the gravity that holds things down in the world.
I think the punishment should fit the crime. I hate to think that a young person would suffer for a decade in prison for a youthful indiscretion or that a young woman in a desperate financial situation would be placed deeper in harms way because she feels forced to sell her body. No. I don't want that. But lawlessness isn't God's answer and I don't think it should be ours either.
I want safe streets and I want eternal souls saved. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I think working hard to see those things happen is worth the struggle. We have been commissioned to seek and save that which is lost. The flesh will continue to be weak but love is a strong force that binds us together if we let it.