Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Is Justice?

“He is the Rock; his work is perfect.  Everything he does is just and fair.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) NLT

Can you think back to a time in your life where you would have argued vehemently with the author of this verse?  For some of you that time might be today!  I think I can safely say we have all endured things in our life that we would not have considered fair and just.  We’ve all been the victim of either someone else’s selfishness or what seems to be the natural pain that comes with being alive on this planet.  Shouldn’t God intervene?  Our instinctive response is to naturally question God’s love for us.  He created the world we live in, after all.  Why doesn’t He just fix the things that are wrong with it?

I admit that I have asked that question myself in the past.  After several years of infertility treatments, my wife and I finally reached the point that adoption was the best option remaining to us.  We bumped into a single mother (someone with ties to my extended family) who was actively looking for parents to adopt the baby she was carrying.  We went down the path all the way to the hospital where a little baby girl was born.  We were so excited!  We were on our way to the hospital to take this baby girl home when we received a call saying the birth mother had changed her mind.  We drove home empty handed to a house where a nursery sat waiting.  Four months later we heard the baby died due to criminal negligence.  As I processed all of that, I couldn’t help but look at God and ask “Ummmm…. Whatcha doin’?”  Was God paying attention at all?  Many of you can identify with this as you think about your own story.

The tricky part is that, based on what I’ve read, there really isn’t an answer that would make us happy.  When we ask “God, why don’t you intervene?” there’s only one answer we’re interested in, which is: “Oops.”  We can’t see a valid reason why God allows injustice to continue on his watch, so the only acceptable answer would be a sincere apology and either "I'll fix it" or “I’ll do better next time.”  We want to straighten God out!  We forget that God doesn’t see the way we see.  Our perspective revolves around our experiences, our frustrations, our desires...  While we’re sure we have it all figured out, God the creator just sees the world he made more clearly than we do.  I’m going to share a few things I believe about this topic, but going in I want to communicate that there isn’t an answer that will magically take away the pain you may feel about events that occurred in your life.  Only God can do that as you lean into Him.  Your circumstances are not a reflection of the level or quality of His love for you.  They are a reflection of the brokenness of the world we live in.

I think the bottom line is that, when sin entered the world, people became selfish, violent, hateful, rude, stubborn, prideful... Sin made this world a hostile and dangerous environment.  Sin brought with it sickness and eventual death.  Our bodies work against us and it gets worse over time.  God didn’t make it that way.  Sin did.  Do we consistently do the right thing?  Of course not.  We are part of the problem.  Haven’t you hurt people (including yourself) with your actions and your words?  Our sin creates collateral damage.  Children are abused, people are murdered, reputations and relationships are destroyed...  because of sin.  God could do something about it, but in order to do that He would have to do one of three things:

1.  Take away our free will so that we could not choose to directly or indirectly hurt another person.
2.  Just get rid of those who cause the pain.
3.  End it all and move on to heaven (and the judgment for those who have not accepted salvation).  

Maybe we could ignore the fact that we are all pain causers (although I doubt that God would be able to) and just ask Him to do away with the pain causers we’re most concerned about.  But for God, there is one more thing standing in the way: mercy.  

God chooses to wait.  He leaves these pain causers here with us because He wants a relationship with them too.  He wants them in heaven with us.  While we may want to lock them up and throw away the key, God loves them and wants them to have every opportunity.  He leaves us here with them so we can try to guide them and help reach them.  Living in this world isn’t about having a pain free life.  The sin in this world prevents it.  A pain free life is coming; God has promised us that.  It just won't be here in this life.  In the meantime, He wants us to help get as many people in the door of heaven as possible.  If we really contemplate the alternative to heaven awaiting those who refuse the love of God, we would understand why this is so important to Him.  Hopefully it has become important to us too.

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