MM00062 The One who judges righteously
Mentoring Manna: The One who judges righteously
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
1 Peter 2:21-23 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps; ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; 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.” When we suffer wrongly at the hands of others, the wound can be great. Sometimes even our most valiant effort to forgive is unable to overcome the deep sense of injustice we feel. Somehow we feel that it is unfair to simply “let it go.” There is something inside of us that cries out for justice. However, it is not our right to carry out vigilante style justice for the Scripture says, “'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’” (Hebrews 10:30)
When we do not forgive, the river of life within is reduced to a pool of bitterness. A bitter soul does not seek forgiveness and reconciliation, but justice. A bitter soul is like a prosecuting attorney who is consumed with building a case against the guilty. Every day that justice is unrealized only increases the caseload and strengthens the resolve of bitterness. A person overcome by bitterness is tormented in a prison created by his or her own failure to forgive (see Matthew 18:21-35). Somehow our sense of justice has to be reconciled, but how?
Jesus Christ gave us the example to follow. Jesus committed no sin and yet suffered for all sin. The cross of Christ was the ultimate case of injustice. But praise be to God that the instrument of man’s ultimate injustice became God’s means to reconcile all injustice! But how could Jesus endure such hostility of sinners against Himself? How could He say, “Father, forgive them”? It was because He knew that final justice was not a matter of “if” but “when.” He knew that final justice is not executed by the hand of man, but by the hand of God.
When subjected to a mock trial, Jesus was able to maintain His composure. When charges were fabricated to find Him guilty, He did not resort to counter-charges of His own. When abusive words were hurled against Him, He did not lash out in self-defense. When He suffered as a result of injustice, He did not threaten vengeance. While experiencing the most blatant case of injustice at the hands of corrupt human judges, He committed Himself to the Supreme Judge of the Universe, the One who judges righteously.
Like Jesus, once we understand that God will judge all things righteously, we can commit all sense of personal injustice into the hand of God and move on with our lives. We can experience the peaceful assurance that God will reward us for doing what is right and ultimately vindicate all unresolved injustices. As Joseph the son of Jacob discovered, God will work all things---including injustice---together for good if we commit ourselves into His hand (Romans 8:28). With this assurance we can joyfully obey the command of Jesus to forgive those who have wronged us and to respond in the same way He did. As we do this, the torment of bitterness will give way to the peaceful assurance that comes to all who have committed themselves to the One who judges righteously.
Application: When we are faced with injustice, our natural inclination is to seek retaliation. While this may be natural, it is not the example Christ gave us. While we are called to be a voice of justice for the defenseless, we are not to be overcome with bitterness in our attempts to gain personal justice. When human justice eludes us, we are to trust in the righteous judgment of God. We are not to retaliate by rewarding evil with evil. We are not to take vengeance into our own hands. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. We are to overcome evil with good. Trust in the ultimate justice of God. Commit yourself and your case to God---and leave it with Him. Jesus gave us both the command and the example to forgive, and He will give us the grace to do it. To remain a prosecuting attorney in personal issues of injustice will only keep us, rather than others, locked in a tormenting prison of bitterness.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I commit myself to You, the One who judges righteously. I repent of becoming a prosecuting attorney against those who have wronged me. Forgive me for harboring unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart. I release my case along with its evidence and verdict into Your hand. I trust that You will judge my case in righteousness. Help me to follow the example of Jesus who did not seek revenge but sought to please You by overcoming evil with good. I thank You for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”