God tells the Israelites to set aside three cities of refuge, near enough so that: "the avenger of blood racing in hot-blooded pursuit might (not) catch him since it’s such a long distance, and kill him even though he didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t his fault. There was no history of hatred between them (the murderer and his neighbour)." God does this so that the Israelites don't "pollute it with innocent blood and bring bloodguilt upon (them)selves."
God is merciful. I do well to remember this, I who do not 'believe' in accidental sinner. Brought up to take responsibility for my actions, I have an over-developed sense of guilt when my actions unintentionally go wrong. Guilt which has, over the years, fuelled feelings of shame and blame. And it is worth, hear, referencing Brene Brown's inspiring work on shame and blame and her encouragement to be vulnerable. As I look at her work, I am drawn to this blog with inspiring quotes from her:
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brené Brown
All helpful and true and I rejoice that Jesus has forgiven me EVERYTHING. The unintentional sins AND the intentional ones.
And yet - God protects his people who live together in society here on earth. He gives clear instructions for dealing with the intentional sinner, the murderer who plans and plots and brutally carries out harm to others. They are to be pursued and brought to justice, convicted by the words of at least two or three truthful witnesses. There is to be no summary justice on the word of one accuser.
God is good. He loves us all, bringing order out of sin's chaos and ensuring with his words at the end of the chapter that even the intentional sinner is to be treated with dignity and truth.
God is good. He loves us all.