I am angry when the perpetrators of evil get away with harming those I care about!
When the bad guys are good at ‘playing the system’ and are not held accountable!
When those hurt have to keep holding the hurt!
When justice does not win!
I am drawn towards shows like 48 Hours, Criminal Justice, NCIS… I want to see the bad guys taken down and put in their place. I want the victims to have their wrongs set right!
But even when the bad guys have their day in court, our legal system does not bring justice about!
The lady goes to prison for life after poisoning her husband. But the punishment did not return the man to those who love and miss him.
The teenage thief receives consequences for the money he stole, but the money was spent and not returned.
The rapist spent some time in prison and is registered as a sexual predator. But the ravages of the women are not restored.
The lady in prison is not likely to be restored into a woman who wants to be a protector of life.
There is no guarantee that the teenager will change the direction of his ways.
The rapist’s punishment has done little to change the perversion within.
We want justice. God has a heart for justice. Justice is a good thing for us to want and pursue.
But when I claim to want justice, am I really wanting people to suffer as much as the suffering they have inflicted on others? It is often my initial reaction, sad to say. I want to lash out and make them hurt!
Is this not inadequate and short sighted?
In looking at the goal of God, His desire for ‘punishment’ is radically different. If He dishes out ‘punishment’, it is for the long term desire of deep internal change so that restoration can occur. Not just having them hurt for the sake of hurting.
Justice to God is ‘setting things right’!
I recall reading Picking Cotton. It is the story of Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Sannino. Jennifer was horrifically traumatized by being held at knife point and raped. She was certain it was Ronald who was her perpetrator, sending him to pirion with her testimony for eleven years, before evidence came to light revealing he was falsely accused.
Her insistence of ‘justice’ brought about the spreading of further injustice! The story is the memoir of the injustice, penitence, forgiveness and the setting things right through a growing friendship. Setting things right for them individually, together and then on into society as they travel together and share their story!
This is a glimpse into the fullness of justice after ‘justice’ went asked! This is what I want!
At least when I am feeling sentimental and ‘theoretical”.
But in the immediacy of the hurt and harm done, I easily lose track of my desire for fullness of justice. I want the offenders to hurt!
It offends and upsets me, but sometimes God’s way of justice seems to include more mercy than punishment. It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance. To deep inner change. To more full restoration of distortions within souls. This offends me.
I want others to suffer. But I want God’s mercy and forgiveness to be abundant towards me! Something needs to be adjusted within me towards others! For there to be generous mercy flowing spontaneously from me to other offenders.
When and to the degree that I sense God’s closeness to me in my agony, do I benefit from a shift within towards peace and confidence in God’s plan.
I am soothed when I am aware of how He, living within me when the injustice hit me, was also painfully impacted and how much this matters to Him. He weeps with me as I weep in my agony. He understands the enormity of the harm done. He understands my reactive defensive stance. He grasps fully why I am angry and wanting a defender and protector. He is in agreement that this needs to happen. And even while His methods may be very different than mine, He is big enough and committed to addressing the injustice and working to set things right!
His ways are bigger than my shortsighted ways. And my confidence in Him increases my ability to trust Him to be about justice with His approach.
Have mercy, All wise and loving God and Judge. Bring justice within me more and more!