“Lord, I plead for justice. How long, Lord, before you turn and bring vindication? Don’t you see the oppression and suffering? I know your heart grieves injustice. When, Lord? When?!”
The words flew from my pen as morning mist hung low over the tranquil pond. I was on a spiritual retreat, and the dialogue between me and the Lord was fairly one-sided. I was angry and wanted the Lord to bring justice. Or at least my definition of it.
The tears flowed furiously as hot anger rose. Surely, the Lord would see, hear, and act on my behalf. Didn’t He see how right I was? I had walked with honor, acted with humility and love; still, I was treated unjustly. Wasn’t it the Lord’s job to defend me?
As my anger escalated, my eyes fell on my open Bible.
Tears blurred my vision, but one line was all the Spirit wanted me to hear.
“In His humiliation, justice was denied Him.” (Acts 8:33)
Full stop, Sisters.
My pounding heart took on a different rhythm. I had just been confronted with the tender mercy and righteous justice of the Lord God Almighty by the work of His Spirit living within me and actively speaking through His Word.
The clash of horrible injustice against a holy God collided with my perspective on personal justice.
We’ve each experienced injustice against ourselves or a loved one. Whether it’s on a personal front or a cultural battle, our hearts know the familiar ache for justice.
Shouldn’t God dole out justice on our behalf?
When can we watch our enemies fall?
Is God even just at all? How can He delay?
All good questions.
But, perhaps, you, like myself that morning, have forgotten what true justice would mean for all of us.
In our self-righteousness, we raise our eyebrows, cross our arms, and hope a parade of jurors have prepared their sentence of “guilty” for the offender. (Luke 18:10-14)
Can I be blatantly honest about that morning encounter?
The Lord showed me myself, then He showed me Himself.
I am a sinner.
Not a mistaker; a wretched sinner.
Every sin I commit is a slap in the face of a Holy and Righteous God who sacrificed Himself to save my unworthy self simply because He chose to set His love upon me. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8) When I forget how lost I am without Jesus, and incapable I am of doing good on my own, my sense of justice becomes ridiculously slanted as I elevate myself.
God is perfectly holy.
No flaw exists in Him, nor ever will.
From everlasting to everlasting, His ways, thoughts, actions, and emotions are always righteous. (Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 30:18)
No sin escapes His eye.
Not my distant body language.
Not my subdued tone of voice with a hundred undercurrents of anger.
Not my bitter thoughts.
Not that little lie I told.
Not that lusting look I allowed to linger.
Each and every sin carries a price tag because it offends a Holy God. The price is eternal death and forever separation from the loving, gracious holy God. (Romans 6:23)
This is justice.
I don’t deserve to be in the presence of Holiness because of my sin.
“Your iniquities are separating you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not listen.”
We should all be nodding our heads at this point.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
If I want my spouse to apologize for acting and speaking rudely, while I’m also rude at times, how infinitely greater is my sinful offense to a Holy God Who has never sinned?
There is no *wink* *wink*, let this sin slip through the grid, Lord.
Just slide this under the proverbial rug since I’ve done many other good things.
This is utterly impossible.
Knowing this, King David cries out,
“If you, oh Lord, kept a record of wrongs, Oh Lord, who could stand?!” (Psalm 130:3)
David’s point is clear.
No one can stand with clean hands and heart before God.
If justice were served, all would be condemned, from the “greatest sinner” to the “greatest saint”, for all have sinned. (Romans 3:23)
You. Me. Your pastor. My friend. All. Of. Us.
So I sat, stunned to silence as the fog lifted around my heart and the Spirit sunk His words deep into my soul. “In His humiliation, justice was denied Him.”
Jesus Christ, wholly innocent, humbled Himself entirely, allowing justice to be denied Him that I might be set free. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
My price tag of death.
Jesus paid it all and gave me His flawlessness instead if I say yes to Him.
No, God cannot sweep injustice under the rug.
But He did die in our place to pay for every last lustful thought and bitter word.
Then He hands us our freedom wrapped with infinite love.
He is a just and righteous God.
He hears every plea for mercy.
He paid the price for every sin.
And His gracious response to our sinfulness is to offer outlandish mercy.
“For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)
Do I feel the sting of injustice in my home, at work, my city, and my nation? Oh YES!
Does God feel it? Far deeper than I do.
I will stand up for the oppressed just as my Father God has stood up for me.
I will humble myself, not insisting on my justice, for my Father knows.
If the Holy God can respond in mercy, then how can I stubbornly do less?
While I extend mercy as my Father has, I’ll wait in confidence, knowing that One Glorious Day, all injustices will be reversed.
All unrepentance will be met with perfect justice.
On that day, all creation will tremble at its Righteous Judge.
Blessedly, for all who have trusted Christ to pay the penalty for their sin, judgment has already passed over us, finding us flawless, for Christ’s righteousness has become our own. God’s wrath was already poured out on Christ on the day our freedom was purchased.
Lord Jesus, in view of God’s outlandish mercies (Romans 12:1-2),
renew my mind and let me bravely stand against injustice while holding out Your mercy.
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