Where is God's Justice?
The news these days is sad, heartbreaking… violent. It is hard to turn on the evening news and not wonder, “Where is God’s justice in all this?” I promise this is not a political commentary on the events overseas, but it is ironic that months and months before these current events, God had put it on my heart to address the topic of Justice in this year’s curriculum.
I remember with clarity the first time I visited Egypt and we traveled to my parents’ old familiar places – church, neighborhoods, old homes. My dad had this look of sadness that I never could quite grasp. He had suffered terrible injustices that he did not speak about often, but it was written on his face. Although I am very grateful to my parents for raising me in America, I often wonder why I was spared this hardship, and others were not. It seemed unfair, unjust.
Many adults, much less teens, read the Bible with confusion as to how exactly God defines Justice. We read the story of Job’s destitution, for example, and think, “how is that fair?” Or we read about how God showed mercy to the evil Ninevites but dispensed swift justice to Lot’s wife simply for turning back towards a burning city and think, “the punishment never seems to fit the crime.” We wonder how the same God could have uttered, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” and then later through Jesus instructed us to “turn the other cheek” and how it is the peacemakers who will be called sons (and daughters) of God.
This November our teens will be broaching these instincts when it comes to Justice, and God’s elevated “League” of Justice. The truth is, God is the same in the Old and New Testament, He always commanded us to love mercy, and to walk humbly in the Lord. The problem is when we mix-up the concept of justice in the law / government, with individual vigilante justice. We judge our neighbor who falls on hard times thinking, “they probably did something to deserve that.” But our God is a much bigger God than to merely reward us if we are “good” and curse us when we are “evil.”
Job once asked (demanded?) God for an explanation – he wanted to know why he was being punished when he did no wrong. God’s answer is quite telling.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!” Job 38:4-5.
This conversation continues for a while, but the point is, who are we to question God? We will never understand why some of us grew up in a country filled with persecution, war, and violence, whereas others of us grew up in a safe bubble with little concerns. Why some people seemed to “get away with” their wrongdoings and others are punished for every little thing they do wrong. God’s definition of justice is quite simply in a different “League” than ours – and His ways are far greater than our ways.
His goal is not as trivial as punishing wrongdoing. God’s goal is and has always been to transform our hearts and for that, only a divine perspective will do. We must trust in our loving God because He cares deeply for us, and His perspective is infinitely vaster than ours. Whereas we are tempted to think justice means fairness, or getting what you deserve, or even punishment for wrongdoing, God’s justice is where mercy and truth intersect. To God, justice is not about vengeance, but about peace – for blessed are the peacemakers.
Instead of questioning God’s League of Justice, we ought to make it a habit to turn our eyes to Him. For-
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
This month, help your teens grasp this important topic, especially in light of the political climate we find ourselves in – check out “The League of Justice” series HERE.