The Convicting

*skids in late, papers flying* It’s been a weird week, much leftover spring cleaning and preparations for a wedding; hence my tardiness. Please excuse me. *Bows* Alright! Here we go…

I read three books in my spare moments the past few days; the first three books of the Selection series by Kiera Cass.

I don’t really recommend them, as they seem to be the sort of popular book I always wanted to avoid, heavy in romance, some of which is inappropriate in my opinion and I skimmed and dystopian weirdness. But I read them out of curiosity, research reasons, the cool covers, and a library book sale ahem, and I’m really glad I did.

Why?

There’s an event in book three, “The One”, called The Convicting. Before I go any further, I’ll sum the series up for you summarily, so you get the idea.
35 girls are collected from the corners of Illeya (a country that takes the place of the North American countries as a whole in this futuristic timeline) to compete for the hand of the prince. They are drawn at random (more or less) from the different social castes to promote the morale of the country; and the main character, America Singer, is one of the lowest in the Selection. Of the Eight castes, she’s a Five, affording her low odds at winning, to most people’s eyes.

The Selection is basically a competition that narrows the choices of girls until Prince Maxon selects one as his bride, and one of the later stages in the Selection is the Convicting; a televised event. The ceremony of the Convicting proves that each girls can submit to the law by having them pronounce judgement on criminals who’ve stolen something (the choice of criminals here is so they aren’t exposed to super-violent offenders).

Before the ceremony begins, the prince gives each girl who’s made it thus far a gift of jewelry. Nice, very expensive jewelry. This is theirs to keep, win or lose. It’s real jewelry, unlike most of what they’ve been given thus far, simply to show that they are really worthy girls.

Basically, the ceremony consists of each girl bringing an olive branch to the feet of the king (showing that they want to bring peace to the equation) and then they line up on a dais, where the thieves are brought in one-by-one. Each girl asks the criminal they are to Convict what their name is, what crime they committed, how long their sentence is, and then ends the questioning with ordering them to pay their debt to the king. The criminal is then marched away to jail, and the next girl has her turn.

The king here is evil. He knows that this system is corrupt, and he abuse(d/s) his son in many ways. He knows there is a peaceful group of rebels out to find proof he’s wrong, and he puts some of those guys in the mix with really, really ridiculous lengths of time as their sentence. America’s criminal, for instance, is officiallly charged with stealing a loaf of bread, but has life imprisonment as his sentence, because, he is really one of the rebels.

*shakes fist at evil king*

Now that you have background, let’s take a look at America’s response, and why I wanted to tell you all this.

She asks the other girls before the ceremony if they’d refuse to sentence the thieves with her, because no matter what the crime is, the sentence is always overexaggerated. She argues that most of the criminals here are the only support their family has, and that they’re sentencing their families to death, essentially. The other girls agree it’s not just, but what can they do, they ask? Besides, some of them suspect her of trying to sabotage them, since she’s going last. They think she’ll back out and leave them hanging.

So they all do as they’re told, and her mind spins while this happens. Worse, it appears as though the criminals are either sick, or have been abused while they were awaiting punishment; most of them were barely able to walk. So when she is faced with her thief, a solution comes to mind. When it comes time for her to say “pay your debt to the king”, she takes off her jewelry, given to her by the prince (who she actually really likes by this point in the plot), and gives it to him. Then she walks him to the king and tells him to pay off his debt to the king.

He deposits the jewelry, and since it’s on TV, the king has to free him. The dude sobs and thanks her profusely before being escorted home by a faithful guard who actually makes sure the guy gets away from the king before he can lose his royal marbles.

Now, since that took a very long lead-up, I’ll try to be brief, but to the point.

We are the criminals, only we did exactly what we were charged with. The king we have been treasonous to is the One True King, Yahweh; who, unlike the fictional king, is truly just. Not an abusive, deceitful dictator. The One passing sentence is Christ; but instead of sending us to our eternal punishment, He takes His valuables (His life and blood) and gives them to us, and declares us clean. It is our job in this to lay hold of the gift by faith, examine ourselves in the the light of God’s Word, and go to Him daily with the boldness and surety that our sins are wholly forgiven, and the humility to praise Him for that ultimate gift. Don’t believe me?

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8-9

(and this one’s a little long, but it says it perfectly)

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:11-16

I was so happy to see Jesus show Himself in this story, of all places— it was like getting a surprise visit from someone I love dearly.

Maybe it was, after all. 🙂

Writing progress: 1850 words this week. A bit slow for what I was hoping, but it has been a weird week. And the visit was worth it completely.

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