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« Why Didn’t You Wake Me Up? | Main | The Middleman »

The God Who Makes Things Right

ojsimpson.jpg “For I the LORD love judgment.” Isaiah 61:8

Did he do it?  Was he framed?  Will the evidence eventually show that he was guilty?  Conventional wisdom says that O. J. Simpson killed his wife, but conventional wisdom has been wrong before.  Will we ever know?  Few cases in history cry out so loudly for the execution of justice.  In the end, God will reveal the truth.   

While it may seem strange, one of the best things I know about God is that he loves judgment. David said, “The king’s strength also loveth judgment.” Psalm 99:4. This kind of judgment is not God’s wrath that falls on people as punishment for their evil deeds. The judgment that God loves concerns his passion for righteousness. He takes special delight in taking a blatant wrong and turning it into a right. “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” Proverbs 11:1. God identifies strongly with the inner agony and despair a person feels who has been denied justice.

The triumph of true judgment forms the plot for some of the Bible’s greatest stories. Joseph ascended to a powerful position after his brothers sold him as a common slave. Israel sang joyously as the Egyptian armies drowned in the Red Sea . David rose to prominence despite having been ignored by his father and hunted by his father-in-law. Haman was hanged on the very gallows he built to hang Mordecai. These incidents are much more than delicious twists of fate. God loves to see wickedness crunched in the jaws of justice. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.

Judgment ranks high on today’s endangered species list. In our justice system, known terrorists, convicted criminals and other public enemies walk free or get off with slaps on the wrist. Celebrated cases like the O. J. Simpson trial and the JonBenet Ramsey debacle stay fresh on the minds of Americans. Even the Dr. Sam Sheppard murder mystery continues to resurface in the public eye. Was justice really done? People who have committed unimaginable atrocities often enjoy a cadre of vocal supporters who claim that the criminal is the victim, not those who were injured or killed. From school boards to labor unions, from corporate boards to trial juries, true judgment suffers unrelenting assault. Too often, truth seems biased toward whichever side has the best lawyers and the most money.

In my ministry, I’ve wept with many who have been crushed by injustice. Some were lied on, stolen from or mistreated by scoundrels who seemingly got away with it. Innocent wives have been humiliated by faithless husbands, and good men have wounded by treacherous wives. Employees have been fired from their jobs by corrupt schemers. Ministers have lost their effectiveness because of vicious, unfounded gossip. Congregations have paid double for their buildings because of unscrupulous contractors. Swindlers, con artists and crooks have hit us all.

The most grievous aspect of an offense is when it goes unresolved. But doing something about the problem is often the point where the real problem begins! In today’s environment, people get upset when an effort is made to set the record straight. They see it as meddling, agitating or making a bad situation worse. In God’s economy, however, making things right is the only path to peace. His divine motive is righteousness, not revenge. Neither should we mistake restitution for retribution.

For wrong doers, the Bible points the way to peace. Denial, ignoring the problem or silence won’t work. Specific steps must be taken, however difficult they may be.

1. Sorrow. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
2. Conference. “Go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother.” Matthew 5:24
3. Confession. “Confess your faults one to another.” James 5:16
4. Repentance. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness.” Acts 8:22
5. Restitution. “If I have taken any thing…I restore him four fold.” Luke 19:8

For the victim, the challenge may be even greater. Deep wounds may be seem impossible to erase. But peace cannot be a one-way street. Both parties must mutually pledge themselves to making things right. When both make the effort in good faith, resolution will follow.

1. Forgiving. “If he repent, forgive him.” Luke 17:3
2. Release. “That which is thine with thy brother, thine hand shall release.”   Deuteronomy 15:3
3. Restoration. “Ye which are spiritual, restore such an one.” Galatians 6:1.

As long as one unrighteous deed exists that has not been made right, God will not be satisfied. Wrong strikes a discordant note in God’s universe. The state of affairs may become so entangled in some cases that we cannot make them right. Never doubt, but have patience. God will. He is that kind of God. In the end, he will cause righteousness to triumph.

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