Not Guilty


Those words – “Not Guilty” – are a sweet sound to a condemned man’s ear when the judge pounds his gavel in determined decision. On the other hand, those same words – “Not Guilty” – are often dubious, and heard with skepticism when announced by a person ready to be tried for crimes that he is alleged to have committed.

It has often been said that no person who is in prison will admit his guilt. This is probably an overstatement. In fact, in our current judicial system it is common practice to persuade people who may be innocent to plead guilty in the hope of getting a lighter sentence, when it is questionable whether they can prove their innocence. The same person who may have been innocent in the current situation often has been guilty for crimes in which he was not apprehended. The disturbing scenario, however, is when an obviously guilty person has the gall to plead “not guilty”.

The news account for this lesson is an example of this. Paul Anthony Ciancia, the 23 year-old man who entered Terminal 3 at the Los Angeles International Airport and proceeded to kill TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez and wounded others, pled “Not Guilty” in a court appearance on December 26, 2013. This news item will give us the opportunity to discuss the subject of guilt before God.

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