the just for the unjust …
Such a powerful statement.
Right now our focus in this country is on the terrible, wrongful death of one man, and rightly so.
Thousands of people have been flooding city streets this week, beautifully standing up for the life that was brutally and unjustly taken by men who disregarded the value of another person. All. Lives. Matter. That is the message surging across our nation.
There is right and wrong, and God has given us the ability to know it. What happened to George Floyd was terribly wrong. We feel it to the depth our souls. Watching those 8 minutes and 46 seconds brings heartbreak and outrage.
We love George Floyd, and we hate Derek Chauvin. Why?
We know very little about either one. What we do know is that one disregarded the life of the other. One had power, and one did not. Were they good people or bad people? How do we know?
God tells us the true answer here, and it is not a truth that we like. It is a truth that in fact, makes us very uncomfortable. No one is righteous, not one.
And yet, aren’t we, right now, thinking ourselves better than those police officers who caused this death? We all want to say that we are not like that. We wouldn’t do that. We care about other lives.
There are hard questions to be answered though. Have you never felt that you were better than another person? Have you never disregarded the rights of another? Haven’t we all done so? Not to the point of death, surely. We understand that line, and wouldn’t cross it. We are not murderers.
I must ask though, am I any better than any one else? Have I never been selfish? Or greedy? Or taken advantage of another person? Have I never lied or concealed the truth, letting someone else “take the rap”? Have I never taken something I found, without regard for the person who lost it? Have I never gossiped or shared a secret that wasn’t mine to share? Have I never ridiculed another person, if not out loud, even in my own thoughts?
Some of the demonstrations have not been beautiful. Some have been embarrassingly ugly, full of obscenities and destruction. Surely I am not like that. I would not hurt others to express my frustration and anger. Yet again my conscience pricks me, uncovering past outbursts of angry words, hurting those who disappointed or wronged me. I am not proud of such moments, but I cannot deny them.
All human life is precious to God. Every person, in every nation, every circumstance. The person living in destitute poverty. The person with Down’s Syndrome or Autism. The person struggling with mental health. The black person. The white person. The poor, the rich. The weak and defenseless. The powerful and privileged. Do I go too far?
Does God love the murderer as much as he loves the murdered? Does God love the guilty as much as he loves the innocent?
I have to confess, that this thought galls me. I gag and choke on it. It brings the sting of indignant tears.
Isn’t God outraged by injustice? Yes, oh yes, I believe he is. Far more than we can possibly know. Far more than we are. God is the God of Justice. Righteous and True. Injustice will certainly be punished.
But here’s the thing … Jesus Christ is our ONLY righteousness. It is ONLY in him that we are righteous.
You see, we are not so innocent. I am not innocent. I am not righteous. What am I trying to say here? I think what is ruminating in my spirit is this: it is not a “they” problem. It is a “we” problem, an “I” problem.
I am not in the least defending murderers or bullies. Please don’t misunderstand. They must absolutely be brought to justice. I also want to hate them, but I don’t have that right, because I too, am unjust. My own sin contributes to the injustice of this world. We … I … am part of the problem. The public demonstrations and protests will be of value only if we also look inside ourselves, and recognize our own human, sinful nature and allow God to change us.
In order for there to be any good in me at all, it must come from God himself. Only God is truly good, and only he can make me good. I don’t mean “make” as in force. I mean that only if acknowledge my own inability, and trust him to create something new, something clean, something good in me. I love him, not because I am good, but because he is good. Because he loves me. Because he gives me worth. Because he rescued my pathetic ugliness and gave me life.
Jesus Christ died to give me that life. He died for me. For you. For the black man. For the white police officer. Jesus was unjustly punished and killed. He was falsely accused. He was beaten. He did not have a fair trial. He did not deserve it, yet he endured it willingly, for justice … and for love. He died to procure an undeserved justice for us. He loves us that much. He died, because our lives – all of our lives – matter to him.
These are just some of my thoughts this morning, as I try to come to terms with current events.
My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, I am so very sorry for their loss. Nothing can compensate them for that loss. My heart goes out to the families of the police officers involved in this terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to those who have suffered loss and injury due to rioters taking advantage. My heart goes out to those who have already suffered great loss this year from the corona virus and its pervasive effects on all aspects of life.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26