WE SEE the images flicker across our screens. We hear the updates, day after day. Case after case — all kinds of violence and atrocity committed against human lives. Unimaginable events, some far too extreme for us to comprehend.
It makes us feel helpless and weak. Or our rage consumes us. These things might not affect us directly, but we take it personally. And the people stream out into the streets. They are tired of all the hurt and pain. They march for justice. They lift up their voices and cry out for what’s right.
Others only want to settle a score — so they smash and burn whatever they can. Some just cry and pray because it all hurts so very much. And the injustice flows on and on like a river of blood.
Every action has a consequence. Whether in our soul or in the system, a price will be paid for every crime. So we wait for the verdict. Some want the most severe sentence — as if this will somehow make things right in our fallen world. But even a perfect law, with the most precise decisions, will never stop the bleeding. Even the death penalty does not bring closure to open wounds.
What might happen if we react differently? What might happen if we kneel in our churches and take to the streets to ask God to forgive us? Who calls for this these days?
No crime occurs in a bubble. No criminal escapes the influence of family, context, or society. We were all wounded first as children and then later in life. But we must all answer for our actions as well. We are all victims and all responsible at once.
How many times have I looked away when I could have helped? How often did I let something bad get worse? How many times did I think I knew better than everyone else? No, we are not all murderers, thieves, and abusers. But we are all sinners. No one is exempt.
Only God’s judgment is perfect and just. But we still obsess over the most vile acts. We cry out for punishment.
What if we asked for forgiveness instead? Have we forgotten that this is the door to salvation?
In all its imperfection, the system will pass judgment. A verdict and a sentence will be handed down. But this will never restore lost innocence. This will not return our hearts and minds to yesterday. It will not bring back the dead. What fools us into believing that punishment can give us peace? Revenge is a demon with no limits to its hunger.
From the cross, Jesus did not cry out for justice. He cried out for forgiveness instead. He could have asked his Father to rain down hellfire. He could have called out for total destruction. He had a right to. Jesus was innocent.
Set the world straight! Burn it all down and start over again! Why not? Break out your knives and pitchforks since there’s a lot of wrong to be made right. And in the river of bloodletting the innocent often get dragged away by the undertow.
The system condemned Jesus to death. He gave himself up freely. And Christ rose again on the third day. How might things change if we cried out, and gave ourselves up, like Jesus did to his Father?
Does anyone truly believe in the resurrection anymore? How should we show it then? We show our faith by following the Son — even to the cross if necessary. Then our motives are purified. The Spirit drives our actions. And lives are transformed by the grace of God. And this is the most formidable weapon against injustice.
Yes, we have a responsibility to proclaim the truth. Crimes must be dealt with according to the law. But don’t buy the accuser’s lies. Someone else’s condemnation will never heal your personal hurt. The hunger for revenge has only one goal: the hunt for its next victim.
Pray for the mercy of the Lord — even for those who crucify the innocent. Cry out for all of us who struggle to be fair and just, but we never quite make it completely. The Lord’s mercy is limitless. He shuts the jaws of the vengeful beast.
Do not worry. The Day of Judgment will arrive. We will all come face-to-face with God one day. But do not be afraid. Instead, focus on the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Let him put an end to the bitterness. Let him calm your hurt.
Then go out into the world with confidence and courage. And fight injustice with the almighty love of God.
. . . . . . .
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
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