Significant reputations have been damaged recently and it's hard to imagine them ever being restored. For Jimmy Savile there will be no opportunity for defence, since he is no longer alive, and it is, after all, impossible to prove a negative. And even for Lance Armstrong, there seems little chance of him clearing his name. How quickly hard one reputations fall to the ground. And Jesus Christ? I've long reflected on the words of St Paul recorded in his letter to the Phillipians 2.7, in the old King James translation, 'He (that is Jesus) made himself of no reputation'. It's one thing to have it stripped from you, but quite another to give it up, for a greater good. The self giving love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ remains a wonder to me.
Approaching things from a different perspective are these words from Nick Spenser of Theos writing on the LICC blog,
'But it is the fact they have not been found guilty and duly punished that is revealing. Armstrong has been stripped of his medals and his name tarnished, but he was never brought to public justice by the body that should have caught him.
Savile is now beyond earthly justice. Those hundreds of children whose lives he corrupted and the millions more whose trust he betrayed will never see him publicly tried and condemned.
And it matters. We do not – we cannot – simply dismiss what Armstrong and Savile did with a casual ‘never mind’. We cannot just ‘stop worrying and enjoy your life’, as the atheist bus campaign advised us. Justice matters, fundamentally.
It is a defining human characteristic. Without it, the moral air we breathe is left infected with toxins that we can feel in our bloodstream. Christians have long claimed that ‘at least’ people like Savile (and – gulp – ourselves) will face ultimate judgment, and there is something reassuring (not to mention fearful) in that. But, if we are honest, it is not that much use to those who are left trying to rebuild their trust and their lives.
Perhaps the connection between Christ and culture here lies not in final judgment but with the very idea of justice. To be human is to seek – to need – justice. No fashionable non-judgmentalism or moral relativism will suffice. Only justice can clear the air, heal the past, afford us a future. Only justice sets us free.'
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