Have you ever heard of human trafficking or slave labour? Have you ever heard a sermon on the evil that is in the world? Have you found yourself overwhelmed with the troubles in this world? Does the thought of what is going on in the world, your city, your street, trouble your heart? Have you ever wondered why God allows such things in this world, if He is really a God of love? I know… me too.
There are so many troubling and down right evil things in our world today. Thanks to the internet and TV, we can see and hear of the atrocities moments after they happen. All you have to do is scroll through your twitter or Facebook feeds and you will get a dark pit in your stomach about the abominations that God has allowed. They don’t seem to go away. They seem to be getting worse. It’s easy to wonder if God even cares about the issues. It’s easy to say, “If I were God, I would…” in the world. But it’s hard to deal with them as an individual.
I have been given a task. I have been asked to see how a church can focus its efforts on the issues of global injustice. I have been enabled to find ways to mobilize a community to affect those who have been treated unjustly. In one year, I have learned something: my view of justice, and the views I read about in the Christian world, are so limited. What I thought I knew about justice is really kind of sad. What I thought justice was has proven to be very short sighted.
As I drove through the red light district in Nagpur, India, my heart grieved for those being abused. But my grief was fighting for my attention. I also found myself deepening in anger towards the abusers. Even more, I found myself fighting feelings of hate for those that would create businesses around the abuse. Anger burned in my gut. I wanted to pull over and use my not-so-spiritual gift of being a large guy, to beat the abuse out of the abusers.
Traditionally, many Christians would tell me that I was feeling the anger of God. They would tell me that I am mad at the sin. They would inform me that God hates sin, and I am feeling His heart. But is that true? Am I supposed to get this feeling? Am I supposed to battle these feelings? Should I, as a believer in Jesus, want wrath to fall upon the enemy of justice?
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt. 5: 43-48 NIV)
So what does this mean? Do we just stop getting mad at injustice? Do we let this evil keep going so that we can have a sing-in and all just think happy thoughts? I don’t think so. But I also don’t have a great answer for it. My hate for the perpetrators disqualifies me from making a great judgement on this topic. At least for now.
I want to stop the injustice. But my blood boils and frankly, it makes me not always think of love and prayer for my shared enemies of injustice. I know in my heart that God wants justice too, but it feels like every time I tell Him what would be just in the situation, He doesn’t understand how smart I am 🙂 (I’m just kidding. I’m not usually too smart in those times). He doesn’t do what I feel would be right. It feels like He does not take my prayers and petitions too seriously in these topics.
Here is my takeaway. God’s view of justice is so much bigger than mine. Mine is so limited to what I see in front of me. But God is without obstruction. He sees clearly to the end. He sees full justice, not limited just feelings.
I often say, life’s not fair – and I’m glad about that. Of course my kids don’t like that. 🙂 If I would have had God’s power, and I would have been standing in the crowd when Jesus was crucified, I would have taken Jesus off of the cross. Boy am I glad I didn’t have that opportunity or we would all be in serious trouble. I could not see past my view of justice and what I feel is fair. But God’s view of justice is always greater than mine. Somehow, He wants us to love and even serve those who treat others unjustly. This doesn’t mean we should help them live unjustly, but our hate needs to be turned into an unquenchable love for the perpetrator, not just the victim. How we do that, is my next journey.