I’ve been thinking a lot about justice in the past year, especially in the wake of the Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard allegations, which hit close to home. We discussed justice in church a number of weeks ago, and I posted some thoughts on my personal Facebook page.
I’ve decided to post the original thoughts more publicly and without commentary.
From October 19, 2014:
This morning at church, we had a great and extremely difficult discussion about justice and whether or not we should petition God for justice, that is, what is right (Luke 18:1-8). It was generally implied that it is judgmental and hypocritical to ask God for justice, because we all deserve justice, and we want mercy. And it hit me: we don’t want to ask for justice because it will force us to reckon with the just consequences of our own actions, not just those who sin again…st us, or those people we perceive as big baddies. We’d rather talk about mercy, because it doesn’t force us to look too much at ourselves.
I’ve met many people who struggle believing God is merciful. They see God as perpetually angry and vengeful. I see how they came to that conclusion, but my experience formed my beliefs in almost the opposite direction. I’ve grown up seeing leaders (people entrusted with the care of others) sin blatantly and unchecked. I came to believe at a relatively young age that God didn’t care, because He didn’t intervene. Even when I became a follower of Christ, I carried on thinking that God’s attitude towards sin was largely dismissive, especially towards Christians.
About a year ago, I heard a pastor remark, “Sin makes God furious.” I hadn’t been thinking about sin (my own or anyone else’s) that way. Sure, sin made God sad, because it creates a gap between Him and us, but ultimately, He forgives it, so … no big whoop. My thinking concerning God as just was seriously warped. Since then, I’ve begun understanding that sin is the antithesis of justice, of what is right. Sin violates who God is, and it angers Him. I have had to deal with and process my own sin, the sin of others against me (some of it buried very deeply in the past), and the sin of others against those who cannot defend themselves.
Justice has been uncomfortable for me, and to petition God to intervene in unjust situations in my life and the lives of others? To petition God to make these things right in a deeply broken and wounded world? Arguably, that’s what Jesus was telling His disciples to do in Luke 18, but it makes me squirm. Because I have to know that He’s not going to just bring that about in the world at large (although He will), or in the things I advocate for, but also in my life – the areas where I’m not right.
“He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
So. What do YOU think? Should we pray for justice?