Okay, I admit that what I’m going to share is a hard word. I expect us to wrestle with this. To be, possibly, offended. So I ask you to read prayerfully and seek our loving Father in this message. For this is also a door of freedom for us (and others) and joy in the goodness of God and His magnifienct way of dealing with brokenness in the world.
There is a strong tendency within those who have a heart for justice, including those wanting God’s justice. An understandable one. We have seen and heard stories of people brutally abused, oppressed, exploited, shamed, dehumanized. Our heart breaks for those who are so mistreated. We want them to be free. We want them to be healed. We want them to be all they were made to be. Then we look at those who oppressed them- sellers and buyers and all those who took advantage of the victims- and our tendency is for them to pay for their actions. We see them as disgusting, evil, inhuman, not deserving of any good. They are the enemies. They are the ones who need to be rid from society, from the earth. They are a problem to be eliminated.
It seems reasonable, considering what they have done. What they have done is absolutely sickening, deplorable, unspeakable.
Yet, we, as believers, are called to treat and work in the lives of the offenders that is not based on what they deserve, but on the goodness of God and His desire to reconcile them to Himself.
We are partners with Christ in bringing good news. Not a “get out of jail card.” Good news that Christ had made a way for reconciliation with God and with others and for healing of all brokenness, including the deep crevices of spiritual brokenness. Our ministry of reconciliation includes the offenders.
They need to be freed. They need to be healed.. They need to be all they were made to be.
The justice at the heart of Jesus sacrifice, of God’;s heart,m is to make things right in all place, in each life. And in His mercy, that is reconciliation
I do not suggest that they be free of facing legal consequences or that they may not have other consequences to deal with. They are also responsible for their actions, and being under the authority of the law of the land, they must face the consequence of breaking those laws.
But the thoughts in our hearts towards them, and thus the actions that spring forth, must be desiring the same freedom for them that we undeservedly enjoy in Christ.
But we cry out- someone must pay for this!
Jesus did pay for the vilest offenses by His sacrifice. He took on the wrath of God, satisfying God’s need for a proper response to the horrific wrong doing, retributive justice for each and every person’s sins. His sacrifice is sufficient to pay for all of it. His sacrifice, in God’s perfect justice, has now made a way for all of us to be made right, not by our goodness, but by His righteousness. His justice comes in overcoming evil with His goodness. In His mercy triumphing over judgment, and lives once corrupted by sin and evil now redeemed and glorious in His righteousness.
We have be empowered to partner with Christ in bringing people into the justice not yet completed: Rendering to each what is due in light of His mercy and sacrifice, to made things right by His truth and righteousness, to restore dignity, and bring tings in line with kingdom rule.
Paul said that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers, authority, and the prince of evil. Our work of bringing the Kingdom is justice against the true enemy as much as it is justice in the lives of those impacted.