Growing up my brother, sister and I hung around a lot with my four girl cousins. Of course we spent the most time together around holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and July 4th. After we had spent some time with the adults we would all go outside, watch a movie or play with toys. I remember one holiday we all squished together on a sofa to watch some holiday themed movie. My brother and I kept pushing back and forth to get the best seat. All of a sudden my brother pushed me off the sofa. As I fell, I felt embarrassment and anger well up inside me so that I balled up my fist and rose to hit my brother. In one swift movement I swung as hard as I could to establish justice and pour out my wrath upon my brother’s upper arm. In an equally if not more swift move my brother moved just enough so that my powerful punch landed on my little girl cousin’s arm. All of a sudden my anger and wrath melted away to reveal deep embarrassment and shame. In attempting to set things right with my brother I had only made the situation worse.
How often do we have the same knee jerk reaction to enact justice in our communities and spheres of influence. Often when we act out of our own wisdom we cause more destruction than justice. We are told in scripture that godly wisdom is not the wisdom of the world. The world tells us that we find in ourselves wisdom whereas the Bible tells us that wisdom is found completely outside ourselves. Our internal wisdom would tell us that unless we exact justice then no justice will be had. However, Scripture makes it clear that we are to rely on God to bring justice and not ourselves. Look to the religious leaders of the New Testament. They likely thought at the bottom of their hearts they were bringing about justice in crucifying Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It can seem repetitive to always bring it back to the cross, but the cross is like a diamond that displays the many facets of God’s wisdom, glory and truth. This week it is amazing to see the wisdom and justice of God in the cross. Sometimes when we read about Jesus’ final hours on his way to the cross we may think ‘break out and kill your enemies.’ How easy would it have been for Jesus to do so. However, he willingly takes himself to the cross to die for his people. He remains just in that the sins of his people had to be paid for. When we take justice in our hands we will always get it wrong. We must entrust ourselves to Christ in the midst of injustice because it is Christ alone who is just and will finally bring justice.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 26:1-25
Sermon: Trusting God’s Justice, Not Ours