Responding to injustice
There’s a lot of anger floating around these days. Seems like everyone is upset about something, whether it is a personal situation or a national event. Typically, our anger originates from a sense of injustice – we have something wrong happen to us, or we witness a wrong committed against others – and we want the injustice to be corrected.
We were created in the image of God, which means we reflect some of His attributes. Our desire for justice is one of them. Our problem comes in that because we are sinful and fallen, our desire for justice is polluted. When our selfishness and incomplete perspective is mixed with our hunger for seeing a wrong made right, the outcome is anything but clean. The root of our motivation may be pure, but the execution of the “fix” often misses the mark.
Ideally, our anger at the situation and our inability to right the wrong would drive us toward God. Since He is uncorrupted by sin and He has full understanding of all perspectives, He knows exactly how justice should be served. However, we are all too ready to take God’s place in matters like these. We much prefer the swift correction we feel our anger favors. All too often, we allow ourselves to rage against injustice because we want it corrected NOW.
As we study Scripture, we are constantly reminded that what we go through and how we feel are not “new” things to humanity. The ancient ones wrestled with the same issues that we do. After observing the effects of those who actively chose to do evil towards others, David gave this instruction:
Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated – it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
David recognized that an immediate reaction to the anger he felt would not bring about the true justice he desired. The temptation was to trust himself to rectify the wrong and punish the evildoer. The rest of the psalm fleshes out the idea that it is God’s responsibility to ensure that wickedness is dealt with.
David was likely thinking of what God told Israel would happen to those who trusted in other gods:
“Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay.
In time their foot will slip,
for their day of disaster is near,
and their doom is coming quickly.”
The Lord will indeed vindicate His people
and have compassion on His servants
We shouldn’t ignore injustice; we shouldn’t choose to be inactive. Instead, our responsibility is to continue to serve the Lord where we are, putting our hope and trust in Him to correct the wrongs in the world around us. In His timing, not ours.