Thursday, August 14, 2008

Justice and Mercy

"Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he
who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak."
Isaiah 59:14-17

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD
is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

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So many times when people suffer injustice and are wounded particularly in the forms of physical abuse, molestation, or rape, and go in search of healing they are taught about the love of God and the need to forgive the people who wounded them. Both of these messages are incredibly crucial to healing and deliverance and without these bitterness and unforgiveness sets in there is a gap between these to and I think that most people can feel it. They wonder if God loves them so much why would He allow such terrible things to happen to them or to anybody, and though they know that they're supposed to forgive they wonder about just and whether or not it means anything at all. At least I did. There seemed to be something lacking., and while I was in the One Thing Internship I got to find out what it was. That "something lacking" was the understanding of God's love as a jealous husband who is not only a Bridegroom but a King with all dominion and all power and a Judge who will not allow injustice and unrighteousness to go one forever without retribution.

The Lord promised that injustice will be see an end and those who do not repent for their action will see full judgment for their wickedness. He is jealous for His bride and anyone who hurts her should be very afraid. God's love isn't only the fluttery, lovey-dovey sweetness towards us; His love is true love that values and protects. No one would believe that a husband loved his wife, if she was raped and beaten and the only thing he had to say about it was, "Oh honey, just forgive the guy it'll be okay. You just need to move on and forget about it." NO matter how many love letters that husband sent, or how many bouquets of flowers, if he was not consumed with rage at the thought of some strange person laying a hand on his wife, let alone the actuality, his affections would be in serious doubt. This idea of love is not humanly made; it originated in the heart of God.'

The understanding that the all-holy, all-powerful God is on our side and will vindicate us AND that not too long ago we were also enemies of God, full of wickedness and injustice ourselves, harming others that God valued and in line for judgment except for the grace of God is what leads me to forgiveness. When I understood this reality of God's love, I began to intercede for the lives of those who are in truth no different than me. This is what causes love for our enemies to grow in our hearts and total healing from the past. it caused me to pray that they will know the Lord Jesus as I have known Him, that they would find salvation as I have found it. Knowing that I was once on my way to the same judgment and that God will really bring justice in the end causes the love of God to well up in my heart.

This revelation was very important to me. Before I went to the internship I was (and still am) writing a short story about this very thing, and I came to the point where I couldn't write anymore because I didn't know what he Christians in the story would tell the main character. I didn't know what God had to say about injustice and to be honest I didn't know if He even cared. I would try to forgive those who had legitimately wronged me, but I couldn't let go of the fact that something wrong had been and form what the Christians around me said, God wasn't going to do anything about it. I would find myself jumping into other people's disagreements because I could see unfairness and "apparently" no one but me was going to take care of it, or striking out at people I knew from experience wanted to hurt me and because no one was going to take care of me I had to take care of myself. I held onto wrongs done me, because I was sure no one else had seen and God would surely forget. Understanding this truth about God's character has set me free in so many ways and I know that it is my function or calling to bring this message to hurting angry people inside and outside the Church who have believed a lie about God.

Knowing that God remembers enables us to forgive and forget and ask for forgiveness for that person who hurt us as well. Knowing that God sees everything not only puts a holy fear in us about our own lives, but it also lets us live our lives vulnerably, no longer on the defensive at every turn. I honestly think that that has been the biggest change in my view of God and in my life.

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