The LORD is our Judge
by Keith Hassell | January 10, 2011
People often struggle with offenses and injustice. When we are wronged our heart cries out for justice. Without a proper Biblical perspective, we often take justice into our own hands by speaking and doing evil against those who have hurt us. Jesus, however, taught us differently:
Matthew 5:43–48 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Living out what Jesus said is easier said than done. How do we keep our hearts from being filled with anger and resentment? Does God expect us to just take injustice and act like it never happened? Jesus taught us to love our enemies, but what about justice and righteousness? How should we respond?
Jesus is our example. He was treated more unjustly than any other person in history. Listen to how Jesus responded to personal injustice committed against Him:
1 Peter 2:19–25 (NKJV) "For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
Rather than act as Judge and Lawyer in His own case, He turned His case over to God. Although Jesus was condemned by a human court, He presented Himself and His case before the Supreme Court of His Father and was declared innocent through the resurrection. When we are wronged, it is our duty to seek reconciliation with our brother (Matthew 18:15-17). If attempts at reconciliation are refused or the conditions ignored, then we are still responsible to love and bless them in spite of their actions as we take our case to the Lord and His heavenly court and ask Him to judge between us and them. The Lord Jesus, who is our Advocate (Lawyer), will plead our case. As we release the case to Him we must trust that God will do what is right (Genesis 18:25). We must avoid the desire to avenge ourselves or to try to plead our case in the court of public opinion. Do we want to be approved before men or before God?
Romans 12:19–21 (NKJV) "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. 20 Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
While our case is in the Lord's docket, we must keep our heart right by walking in love, doing good to those who do evil, and praying for reconciliation. If a heart change occurs, we must be willing to approach the Judge's Bench to settle out of court. By taking our case to the Lord, we let go of the judgment in our own heart. We rest in the fact that the Lord Jesus, our Advocate, will plead our case before the Father. Once judgment is made, we must pray that God will bring ultimate reconciliation through extending mercy and forgiveness to those who are found guilty and repent. In this way justice and judgment can lead to ultimate mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation that is made possible through the Cross of Christ.