For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated injustice. Now if you’re thinking that sounds pretty high and mighty, I want you to know I didn’t think of it as “justice” and “injustice.” In cases of people only freezing one or two others in a game of freeze tag, or Kid A taking Kid B’s Goldfish when he’s not looking, you don’t really think in official terms like that. All I knew was that something wasn’t right and it could be made right if people changed their actions.
Over time my apathy grew and though I still wanted justice–for myself and others–it often seemed way too far out of grasp to even try for. I saw kids cheat on tests and get the highest scores in the class. I heard people lie to get out of a punishment everyone else had to endure. Little things, but is it truly little when you look at the principle?
Of course the multi-million dollar movie star notorious for their drunken appearances and racial slurs would get the crazy nice house.
Of course the one who has filed for bankruptcy several times would be a frontrunner to being given control of a nation’s funds. (Ahem…)
Of course the rapist’s case would be dropped on a technicality.
But friends, let me tell y’all that there is some really, really good news. Are you sitting down? Can I tell you now? Here it is:
You don’t have to worry about any of it.
Isn’t that awesome? We don’t have to concern ourselves with or be weighed down by the bad guys, unfair freeze tag players, thugs, or frauds. Should we fight for justice? Yes, but in the fight we need to keep a good perspective. Should we hate what God hates? Yes, but remember that God is really good (like, the best) at differentiating his hate for a sin and his hate for a sinner. Us, we’re not so good at that.
“Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
do no violence to his home;
for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”
-Proverbs 24:15, 16
When I was little, I would look at the bad things happening and think, the only way any of this will change is if someone does something. If I do something.
I took God completely out of the equation, and thought that only through my words, actions, opportunities, and accomplishments could people be set free from what was plaguing them. What’s more, I thought that 5+5 was the only way to equal 10. (What does that even mean? you whisper to whoever is reading over your shoulder). It means that I thought justice only happened one way. Like if Johnny hit Susie and didn’t get a time out right then and there, something was amiss. But maybe I didn’t see the teacher take him aside later and send him to the principal’s office. On a broader, less hypothetical scale, what about the traffickers in Atlanta, or the brothel owners in Addis Ababa? Perhaps they got away with first, minor offenses, so police could nab them with a much tighter, more incriminating case and put them away for longer.
To be perfectly honest though, I don’t think this is what David had in mind when he wrote this Psalm. I think he was saying, “Look, God, I trust that you are going to make really awful people pay for what they’ve done. And I trust you so much that I’m not going to get indignant or worried if it doesn’t happen in this lifetime.” David made his share of mistakes, but he also figured out some pretty important stuff and then decided to share it with us.
So go ahead and get a degree in Criminal Investigations so you can find that one fingerprint (CSI Miami style. But the real question is can you solve a case in 60 minutes?) and put away a no-good scoundrel. Study your butt off to get into law school and do 90% of your work pro bono. (After your student loans are paid off, your mom and dad beg). Volunteer at a charity, pray your heart out, donate a huge percentage of your income, and be passionate about making unjust things just.
But don’t worry about it. At the end of a long, hard day, come home and put your feet up. Don’t let your mind worry or your heart be heavy, because there’s no need. David gave you the answer to that a long time ago, and God has been faithful to it ever since.