Guilt is used throughout our society as a source of motivation and a method of control.
Describing himself as “the law and order Candidate,” Trump said in his campaign “We must maintain law and order at the highest level or we will cease to have a country, 100 percent.”
As Americans we pride ourselves on having risen above the barbarism of our ancestors to create a government that administers society–not according to the fiat of despots, but by “the rule of law.”
However, though we rarely think about it, there is a darker side to the rule of law: the disposition of those who consider themselves below, above, beyond or exempt from the rule of law…the Guilty. I place these into three categories: the poor, the criminal and the wealthy.
For many poor (and “middle class”), the law appears as a burden of granite, exacerbating their already-challenging economic situation with taxes, fees, monetary and economic penalties and an unfair/unaffordable judicial system.
Criminals believe they can fare better economically without the crippling regulations and moral restrictions imposed by government law…and they have a point (to a point [smile]). The government, on the other hand, believes it has a right to impose its regulatory authority without exception (technically/legally, that is) “for the greater good,” professing that the filling of its coffers serves the needs of all of its citizens.
The truly wealthy are an entirely different matter. Their resources and standing with the government allows then an undue influence on the law writing process itself, freeing them of most (if not all) of the inconveniences the law may impose on the members of the other two categories. For this reason the Bible takes a dim view on the wealthy–not because they are wealthy, but because they use their wealth to take advantage of their fellow citizens.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.” – James 5:1-6
The purpose of human law is to “level the playing field” for all that live under it’s watchful eye; in those situations where this purpose is fulfilled, the “guilty” are justly penalized and adjured to fall in line.
However, over time the law itself has evolved away from it’s original purpose to provide an advantage to certain segments of the demographic and as a consequence it imposes an unjust burden on other segments…
…and so it has been from the earliest efforts to consolidate human authority and power.
For this reason the concept of Guilt itself has evolved from being a moral compass to just another method of control and motivation.
In Part 2 we shall examine the Law of God and how humans have attempted to bias God’s Law in the same way human law has been.