Alas! today I backslid a bit and vented to a co-worker about an injustice I had to suffer, committed against me out of pure negligence, in other words, by accident. That kind seems hardest to shrug off. Malice I can deal with, but irresponsibility irks me. ‘Blessed are the merciful…’ restrained me.
Today, as almost always, the words of Jesus blocked me from confronting the perpetrator head on. No, really, I think it’s more likely that I let it go out of my own wretched arrogance, ‘He’s too stupid to do his job, and nothing I say or do would probably help him. Next time, I’ll do his job myself.’ Lord, have mercy!
Sometimes I wonder why most people, me included, have such a strong sensitivity to perceived injustice. We all know, it seems, what’s right and what’s wrong. This awareness of a moral standard, some say, is just herd instinct, a learned behavior. Others say, it’s innate, and proves the existence of a divine Being.
I don’t think we need to prove God’s existence by the presence of morality or any other intangible inside us, no matter how universal. I think He’s amply proved He’s there by the mere fact of the universe, and if that weren’t to go unnoticed, by a race of creatures, humanity, that watches it all, and wonders.
Even I am just a hair’s breadth this side of atheism, not because I’m not convinced by nature, or by the intangibles and invisibles that resolve everything there is, but because human nature astounds me, and makes it hard to believe in a God who creates and invests such a race, and leaves us to destroy ourselves.
Back to injustice, before my mental blink, my thought was in the thick of it. A hard day led me to remember a hard life, and that led me to thinking about a hard world. Injustice seems to be the rule here but—thank God—it’s not the ruler: He is. I’m still troubled, though. I want justice, but can’t have it.
There’s that persistent nag. I feel that injustice—not just against me, but all of it—should be redressed, even avenged. I call bible verses to mind, ‘I will bring them back from the bottom of the sea, for your feet to wade in blood’ (Psalm 68). Instead of being horrified by the punishment, I find myself gloating.
Meanwhile, I carefully sidestep injustices I’ve committed against others, afraid to face the fact that, if justice were to be done, I too could, might, no, would be among those against whom the prophetic sentence is pronounced, ‘for the tongues of your dogs to lap up their share of the enemy.’ God help us!
No, help me! But the injustice, Lord—forgive me! I keep going back to that!—why do You allow it? Those others torture us, abuse us, buy and sell us, and You do nothing! Will You ever avenge us, tenfold, hundredfold? Will injustice ever be swallowed up in justice, in Your judgment of our oppressors?
Or will You treat them mercifully? Our wounded souls are tantalized by hopes of revenge, of getting even. Still, we cringe, not knowing if mercy might be shown them who, to us at least, never showed mercy, not knowing if our sufferings will merit just judgment, not knowing if we will be shown mercy.
O good and man-loving God! Whether we believe and confess You or not, it is how we have treated You in your distressing disguise, and not how others have treated us, that will even all things between us and those who oppress us, yes, even our enemies, mercy the measuring rod by which You judge all men.
‘What? Is God not just?’ ‘No, He is not.
What would become of us if He were?’
Help us, O Lord, to forget every injustice done to us, but not to blind ourselves to injustice in the world. Grant us grace to be ‘instruments of Your peace,’ so that, shedding all malice and desire to avenge, we become agents of Your mercy. ‘How blessed are the peacemakers. God shall call them His sons.’
Originally written and posted, September 10, 2013.