If the guilty one deserves punishment, the judge will have him prostrate himself before him and lashed as many times as his crime deserves, but not more than forty. If you hit him more than forty times, you will degrade him to something less than human. Deuteronomy 25:2-3 (MSG)
In a sleepy cemetery not far from where I live stands a grave marker with the name Andersonville on it. I would imagine that most who pass that way have no idea what the name means. The man memorialized with that marker was imprisoned in an infamous prisoner of war camp where the conditions and treatment were incredibly inhumane. The picture in this post was taken of one of the few who survived encampment at the prison. But this camp was not in Nazi Germany or in the Middle East. It was located in Andersonville Georgia during the American Civil War.
Our culture likes to pride itself in our sense of freedom and justice, and so we should. But names like Andersonville and Abu Ghraib should not be forgotten. They should stand as constant reminders, along with the dictates God gives in today’s chapter, that in trying times – especially times of war – the line between human and inhumane becomes easily blurred.