I called my Aunt this morning to check in. Her family lives just outside of Baltimore and my cousin is a police officer for the city. The turmoil there is sickening. Sin is messy. Lives and property becoming token debris littering the streets. Opinionated and sinful humanity without the peaceful structure of God’s commands will quickly become chaotic displays of selfishness. Most of the people who riot, do not even know the family of the deceased. They are fighting for a principle that some may not even know; the mob mentality rarely takes time to educate. In the name of fighting for justice, they themselves are robbing others from the same privilege.
When we find ourselves taking up an offense for someone else, judging an injustice that was not given to us, we remove ourselves from God’s covering. He never intends for us to act as judge. To speak up for those without a voice, absolutely. To serve as a judge, no.
Another friend, returning from business in St. Louis, said the environment is very scary. Even in the radius of “safety” that his company gave him, he was receiving threats. In the name of justice, innocent people are being targeted. Darkness and crime will never serve as justice for the lost. The actions of single authority figures have created consequences for thousands. Devastation and grief are long ago buried under the wreckage of riot gear and tear gas. Riots will never serve as the answer of mourning those taken too soon.
In light of these recent headlines, it causes me to also grieve those who have been taken without notice or care. What is to be said for the millions of babies who are murdered in their mothers’ wombs, even before they are given the opportunity to be born? What impact would those precious lives have had on our society? The world will never know what these people would have accomplished. Their souls silenced before the light of day.
Over 4,000 and counting are lost to the earthquake in Nepal. Without anyone’s permission, their section of the world shook. Lives were taken without warning. Our nation with an abundance of resources to help is too consumed with their own greed and arguments over skin color, to focus on others…people in the same world as us, going without food, water, or medical attention. What is taking our attention? Our resources? Our passion?
We live in a broken world. A hurting world. A sinful world consumed with lusts of humanity. There is an ache in our souls that will never be satisfied by man-made justice. There is not a single person that has not been fashioned by the Creator. He does not miss a single injustice or sinful act. He will rule His final verdict in the end.
When God made each person, they were individually fashioned in the image and likeness of Himself. While He created unique beings, He never declared one life or kind to be supreme. Each person is equal. Each life is of the utmost importance. When we judge one another, we declare that we know better than the Creator. We place our opinions over that of His established rule. When we attempt to put ourselves in God’s position, devastation will occur. Every time. “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and destroy” (James 4:12).
I believe the two lives that were lost in St. Louis and Baltimore were of utmost importance, but not because they were of a certain skin color. These two young men were important because, regardless of their decisions, they were created in the image of God. As were the police officers who fired their weapons.
None of the injustices in this world are a surprise to God. He is El Roi, the God who sees. He knew before He created the world that we would rebel against Him. He made a plan to rescue us before we began to sin. Through all of our wanderings and riots, He has held the whole world in His hands.
As we wait for God’s return, He calls us to be His hands and feet upon the earth. To comfort those who mourn. To encourage. To provide for the hurting, binding up their wounds. To speak the truth with a delivery of love. While the Judge will return, He has told us to proclaim liberty to the captives until then. Most often, those who fight for their own rights, need to be introduced to the God who provides true justice.
While we may be generally unaffected by a great portion of this world’s injustice, we each face our own circumstances and hurtful times of being judged by others. As we can rest in the assurance that God will make it right when He returns, we should also be reminded that God will judge our actions too. Each person was created in the image of God and must give an account in the end for our actions. He sits upon the throne.
As we live in this world, we are commanded to take our instructions from Jesus’ life. When faced with the injustice of being arrested and murdered for crimes He did not commit, He did not commit sin and no deceit was found (1 Peter 2:22). He was publically humiliated, beaten beyond recognition to the point of death, and murdered. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (2:23-24).
Injustice requires a response. Riots stir up anger and revile in return. Truth stands up. When you entrust yourself and your circumstances to Him who judges righteously, you can loving deliver peace. To proclaim freedom and comfort to the hurting. To display a God of justice who has the whole world in His hands and is returning. Hope to the hurting.
(Featured picture: © Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/TNS on MSN.com news report.