Have you wrestled with how much injustice takes place in this world? Do you worry about how your kids will be safe? Do you wrestle between faith in God and a lack of trust in Him since you see such horrific things in this world that, apparently, He lets happen? Do you approve of the verse that says “love your enemies” because it means others have to love you, but when it comes to you having to love your enemies, you justify with scripture that they are so bad that you don’t have to love them? Me too.
Part of the problem we experience in all of these feelings is a matter of what we see as justice. We feel that for something to be fair or just then those who have been hurt need to be helped and those who perpetrated the offence need to be disciplined. We long for justice, but we find ourselves longing more for punishment of the oppressor. Part of our problem though is that if someone punches us, we want to punch back a little harder. I guess an eye for an eye is actually more gracious than we really want to be.
As I have shared before, I was able to go through the red-light district in a major city in India. My heart was broken for those who were abused, but my heart also felt feelings of frustration and, dare I say, hate for the oppressor. I felt that to simply rescue people from their circumstances would be short sited. I wanted punishment. My instinct was that justice only takes place when we get to punish the oppressor, otherwise they would just do it again.
This is where I – and many of us – struggle. God wants us to love our enemy. He wants us to give grace to those who don’t deserve it. After all, that is what He did for us. We can justify it a million different ways, but we have a hard time loving the oppressor. Somehow, God wants us to love the oppressor and long for their healing.
In my journey towards justice, I have felt that the word “restoration” keeps coming across my path. I believe that God is not only in the rescue business, but that He is in the restoration business. Restoration starts with being rescued from current circumstances, but thankfully God never leaves us simply free from our current imprisonment. God walks with us until we are able to help others be free. He restores us so that we can help restore others. It’s beautiful.
Now I have to ask, how can I long for the restoration of the oppressor? How can I want the best unbelievable love of Jesus for the abuser? How can I justify spending my time and efforts and money to save the enemy? That is the next step in my journey.