Self-proclaimed spy, Javert holds a high standard for himself without an associated reward. Talk about a rule-keeper! Rule keeping for the sake of order – OCD on justice. Javert is no Pharisee because he is not trying to please God. He is no legalist. Instead, he is driven compulsively to maintain his standard, or not live at all. This is a man I do not know. His standard of justice is tied to the traditional structure of power. The divine right of kings.
Such a strange standard he applies to favor the upper class without regard to their severe action against Fantine, as he favors the position of Mayor over himself.
Like myself, I believe that most people are the opposite, favoring themselves without even noticing. Condemning others and excusing ourselves is human nature. And let this be my lesson from this chapter in respecting Javert’s consistency and honesty.
I feel it hopeless to approach such honesty. Even my honest confessions have taints of dishonest motivations. But what I can do is to give others the same slack that I give to myself. I can stop judging and speaking evil.
The interesting thing is that if I compare my own righteousness to what I condemn in those around me, I would almost always still be found inferior. I am condemning myself with my harsh words or attitudes. My will is so deceitful! One particular ploy that I can use is to compare my “righteous” present self, having refrained from the heinous act in the moment, to the unrighteous present act of another. I discount the reality that at other times in my life (perhaps as far back as 40 years ago as a teen) I committed the same stupid driving violations or demonstrated the same selfish interpersonal behaviors as those that I condemn. And the thoughts in my heart almost always have a constituent that would bring me shame in its exposure – so much so that I would have a difficult time finding a really clean righteous moment of purity to stand on long enough to deliver my verdict on the head of another.
This woeful pattern demonstrates every hour why I need God and the substitution of Christ. His finished work is my very sustenance. I need it every moment. For wretched man that I am in all honesty, thanks be to God who gives me the victory.