What’s really on trial…

As the Impeachment trial continues in the US Senate, there have been several statements made about what the trial is really about. Some claim that the trial is just literally about the impeachment of the former president. That’s a part of it of course.

In the last few days I’ve heard arguments that the trail is really about the GOP Senators and whether they will follow the oath they took to be impartial jurors and to defend the Constitution or whether their own political careers are more important. That’s a part of the trial also.

On the defense I have heard arguments that say the process doesn’t allow for a conviction – essentially abandoning the idea that the former president isn’t guilty and arguing on a technicality.

And I’ve hear crazy arguments that the guilty parties are the ones pushing the impeachment itself. I don’t really understand this argument except that it is a deflection from people who’s arguments must be pretty empty in order to go on the attack with convoluted conspiracies.

Those are all things on trial in this impeachment trial for sure. But I think there is a deeper issue on trial as well. The case being presented is quite simple – do we believe that the ends justify the means?

If the ends justify the means, then it makes sense that Senators can avoid looking at the raw footage of the insurrection because it is just too painful. Better for them to avoid looking at the truth – it’s the ends that matter after all. They’ve made their minds up, don’t let anything get in the way of that.

The jury for the trial about the ends justify the means is not the US Senate. They are part of what is on trial frankly.

Rather, you and I are the jury. Which arguments are we going to accept? Are we going to buy into the idea that the ends justify the means, or are we going to believe that the means are just as important as the ends?

For Christians, this is a vital question. Throughout all of Scripture, God argues that the means are as important as the ends. No where in Scripture does God argue that the ends justify the means. No where.

Jesus entire earthly ministry is a rejection of the idea that the ends justify the means. I challenge you to open up Scripture and read it and see for yourself. Or are you going to be like those Senators who avoid the evidence because it doesn’t suit their pre-determined ends?

Need some help with this? Are you afraid to look? Let me help you out. In the Garden of Gathsemane, we see how the ends justify the means plays out versus what Jesus is about. Temple guards come with Judas to arrest Jesus. Peter pulls out his sword and cuts off the ear of one of the guards. Jesus immediately responds and tells Peter the following – “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, NRSV)

Yes, this is Jesus taking a non-violent approach to countering violence. But more deeply, this is Jesus rejecting the ends justify the means. The biggest problem with the ends justify the means is this – You are imposing your own judgement on yourself. Those who employ violence often meet violent ends. Not because of Karma – God doesn’t operate on Karma. Grace is a guarantee of that.

Instead, those who reject God’s ways are living in hell. Hell is separation from God. Leave aside the argument of whether hell is an actual place. Hell is anywhere that you are separated from God and God’s ways. And when we are separate from God, we are punishing ourselves. We impose our own sinful brokenness as punishment on ourselves, not grace. We make ourselves the center of the universe – a form of god. And because we are separate from God, we do the only thing we know how – move towards separate, brokenness, violence, devaluing, exploitation, manipulation, abuse, and death. We think we are in control and force our control on others and the world around us. The reality is that we are not in control and our efforts to shape reality to our liking have the exact opposite effect – they cause us pain and further separation from God.

Rejection of God’s ways is a form of hell. This is always the end result of the ends justify the means – it always is brought about through means of violence and force, abuse and exploitation. The actual ends are always the same – death and destruction. Prove that I’m wrong – I dare you! When we reject God and use force we are making the ends justify the means our foundation.

What’s it going to be Christian – the ends justify the means, or Jesus and his way? Forget the impeachment trial and whatever politicians will decide. This really isn’t about that. This is about you, what role faith plays in your life and how you live out faith in your life. You are the jury – what are you going to decide?

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