October 4, 2017

Justice and Injustice

Innocent mistakes are often just as dangerous.

Laurice K. Durrant

As a young nissionary nurse in my early 20s, I was naive and trusting. My job responsibilities were many: supervision, teaching, and secretarial work. In addition, because of my knowledge of such languages as French and Arabic, I was on call day and night to interpret for non-English-speaking patients.

The capital city where the hospital was located was the seat of embassies, as well as a major seaport and airport. Patients from various embassies, ships, or airlines needing medical attention came, and I was called to translate their complaints/needs to the doctors. I met and befriended a number of important representatives of various countries, as well as ship and airline captains and their crews.

A Strange Request

One day an embassy employee whom I had assisted on several occasions called. He was going on business to a town approximately a two-hour drive from the capital, and he wondered if I would like to join him for some sightseeing and lunch. I asked if I could bring along my friend Dorothy. He agreed.

He was an older gentleman in his early 50s. In those days, I considered anyone past 40 “old.” Dorothy was a young woman with whom I had a lot in common. She was head nurse on one of the hospital units I supervised. We attended church together and became fast friends because of our similar backgrounds, education, and religious experiences.

The day arrived for our outing. A chauffeured car picked us up. We had an enjoyable time visiting and sightseeing on the way to our destination. Following lunch the embassy attaché asked me to deliver some phonograph records to his friend in prison. Surprised by the strange request, I agreed. I was to wish his friend happy birthday and tell him that I’d brought him a gift. I remember objecting to taking credit for the gift, but the man gently insisted.

The chauffeur drove us to the prison gate. I showed the prison guard my pass, and he led me to a small room. A man dressed in a suit and tie rose from the chair and greeted me. He was young and stood more than six feet tall. I said something like “Happy birthday! I hope you enjoy the classical music on these records.”

We shook hands and made small talk. He thanked me, and I left with the guard who took me back to the gate. I was puzzled: no prison bars, no jail clothes, a private room. What kind of jail is this? To my inquiry my embassy friend said, “He’s a political prisoner; they are treated differently,” or something to that effect. We did some more sightseeing, then drove home.


A couple weeks later I was in my apartment with Dorothy when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a stern-looking police officer. He asked if I was Laurice Kafrouni. I nodded yes. “Come with me,” he said.

Dorothy, who had followed me, recognized the officer and spoke his first name. Turning to me, she said, “It’s my cousin.”

Simultaneously they both said to each other, “What are you doing here?”

Sensing something wrong, Dorothy said to me, “Go finish your lecture preparation.” She went out and closed the door behind her. I wondered why a police officer would come to my house. How did he know my name? And why did he want me to go with him?

I couldn’t concentrate on my work. Waiting seemed like an eternity. After about 30 minutes, Dorothy came in with a reassuring look and told me “the rest of the story.”

The records I delivered to the political prisoner were not musical records, but messages from his supporters who were planning a plot of some kind. I was implicated because I had delivered them and my name was on the pass. She shared with her cousin exactly what had happened, and that I was just a nurse, definitely not a spy. I had been set up.

Dorothy told the officer that if he arrested me, he’d have to arrest her, too, because she’d come along for the ride in more ways than one. Because of their family ties, and (I presume) in order not to jeopardize his reputation, he accepted her account and left, satisfied that I was innocent of any wrongdoing.

Serving Our Sentence

My rather astonishing experience dims into insignificance compared to the injustices to which Jesus was subjected. He was betrayed by a so-called friend. Even the high priest misrepresented Him before Pilate’s tribunal, falsifying His character while professing to be a follower of the God of Abraham. Jesus was treated as a criminal, mocked, reviled, humiliated, and, ultimately, condemned to death.

It’s extremely difficult to read the account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion without shedding tears for the inhuman treatment He received. Ellen White wrote: “Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity.”1

Jesus had earlier healed the sick, opened the eyes of those who were blind, cleansed those with leprosy, raised those who were dead, and performed many more wonderful miracles. For which of those good deeds was He tried and condemned to death? It’s hard to fathom or understand such cruel behavior on the part of those He had come to save.

But praise God that Jesus’ story does not end with His crucifixion, death, and burial. He is alive today, sitting at the right hand of God. He will soon return to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will judge the world in righteousness. “Justice is the foundation of His throne,” wrote Ellen White, “and the fruit of His love.”2

Implications of Our Redemption

In our present fallen world, injustices abound. I’ve often wondered what would have happened to me had not Dorothy been there when an officer came to my door. Was this just a chance happening? I think not. We can take heart, realizing that we are only pilgrims in this world. Although difficult circumstances assail us, we will never be called to endure what Jesus went through. He did that for us.

Judgment day is coming. In the meantime we can rely on God’s unfailing promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). What blessed assurance!

  1. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 700.
  2. Ibid., p. 762.

After serving as a professor of nursing at several Adventist colleges, Laurice K. Durrant lives in Keene, Texas