Hard times and trouble and frustrating people seem imbedded in my life. I suspect you share the same condition. My high sense of justice merely compounds this, and serves as a strength and a weakness. I care about those taken advantage of, who get treated unfairly. Rightly, I want to support and encourage them and take their side. That's the strength side of the justice coin.
The weakness occurs when I receive difficulties, particularly when undeserved. Then the weak side of the justice coin emerges. I can be stubborn and vengeful and insist the wrongdoer receives proper punishment--punishment that I am only too eager to wield.
In his Easter message, our pastor shared a passage that hit me strongly, and a week later the impact has only grown. Here are the verses, then the confession, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps...When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:21,23, NIV).
On Good Friday, when beaten and insulted and in pain, both physical and spiritual, when fully justified in payback, when fully capable of payback, he blessed. He sought forgiveness for them. He trusted God's justice. As an example for me. Tim Riter.
I struggle with that attitude. Oh, I don't often use physical violence, and often they have no clue what I'd like to do. But I want payback, I want justice. Two reasons for that. First, my flesh cries out that I not be a wuss, that I don't be a victim. Second, and until the Easter message, I'm not sure I grasp God's justice. Intellectually, I know that our God of love is also a God of justice, and in the end he will act justly. But I don't want them to wait that long.
So, the lesson for me. To the best of my ability as aided by God, I want to respond to injustice with niceness. Not to ignore it and to let evil go unopposed. We need to stand against evil, have no doubt here. But my attitude should mirror Jesus, my desire for justice needs to have love blended in, with some niceness. You know, we can be nicely firm. I do OK with the firm, and need to improve the nice. Why? I want to be more like Jesus. I plan on spending a lot of time with him.
Kick Starting the Application
How high is your sense of justice, of wanting fair treatment for all? What might have contributed to it? Do you lean toward being God's instrument of justice? Why? Think of a time when your desire for justice backfired. How did you respond? How intentionally does your faith in Jesus influence your attitude and/or actions when wronged? How can you improve this next week?