No, this is not about Metallica’s hit album from 1988 nor is this about AL Pacino’s movie from 1979. But Justice for All is what we all want, what we all desire. And rightfully so, God created us in such a way that we recognize the lack of it, and desire wrongs to be righted.
Some may say they don’t believe in evil but just pay attention to what’s going on in the world for a day and see if that worldview holds up.
I was recently thinking about my post on the violence and entertainment. In fact I started thinking about this while watching the new show Daredevil; about a guy who looses his sight and gains super powers of smell and hearing to fight crime. Now some super hero shows are light hearted and very flashy and entertaining and others have a more harsher tone. This one has the latter. I was thinking about the harshness of the tone and I realized it served a purpose. The more harshness of the material the greater vacuum it causes in the void of hope and justice. This creates the need and desire for justice, this then calls out for and almost demands that a hero stand up. It is a workable formula.
I realized the level of the harshness speaks to the level of my desire for it to be stopped. I realized I was being taken in by the delivery and being hooked into the narrative, this is good writing. But I also wondered if this maybe is supposed to carry over into reality. Now bear with me here for a second. Often the horrible tragedies of this world make us call out for God, like with 9/11. We see human suffering and we want justice. We see human pain and we pain ourselves, this is a good human response. Empathy.
But sometimes we see the harshness in the world and instead of desiring a hero we desire an explanation.
In humility we desire help, accountability, we look for a hero. In pride we want vengeance and an explanation that satisfies our demands.
Now God does not want chaos to rule the land and for us to simply wait out evil, this is not the message. This is why he left governments in control, to curb sin. Romans 13 tells us this. But this desire and even demand for an explanation drives us to the point of compounding the offense. When we cannot rest in the deliverance we rend in the reasons why. We tend to harden our hearts and lose hope.
But the Christian response is supposed to drive us to him and realize that he will do justice. God will repay all evil. God does not wink at sin. Vengeance is indeed his. But our level of rest and trust in him reveals our level of discomfort in the waiting, our annoyance at the lack of salvation. It does not in any way alleviate the suffering but my demands of reasons will be laid to rest if I truly believed that God was just.
This is what the prophet Jonah struggled with in a reverse way. As much as God is just, he is also a forgiving God. Jonah did not want to preach repentance to the Ninevites because he wanted them to be judged. Even though vengeance is God’s, God had a different desire for them, he wanted to offer repentance.
As much as it may comfort me that justice will come, God may want to show mercy. Ouch! Do I want blood more than God does? This is that harsh reality that I am not God. I have to realize that I am not supposed relent to God’s justice because he will get them in the end, but because he is just and good he will always administer just and true judgment. In other words if someone will repent who am I to demand that they be denied mercy?
This is the reality of our world. It is a harsh place. It is meant to point us to a savior, it is meant to show us that we need God. The degree that we can come to terms with that is the degree we have accepted him as Lord. That is not to say that all suffering is merely an object lessen, but it does contain one if we are able and willing to see it. The world contains evil because of mankind’s fall into sin. These are the consequences. It is not because God doesn’t love or doesn’t have enough power but that this is the reality of living apart from God which we chose. This is the quality of life we continue to choose. As much as we say we don’t like it God agrees and says “Come away with me.
I have always had little compassion for kidnapers. One of the recent episodes of Daredevil was about a kidnapping. I have no room in my heart for this. It strikes me as the most vile unforgivable sin. To steal a person from their home and victimize them into fear and leave the rest in constant fear and worry and pain is just so emotionally horrible to me. It pains me and makes me cry our for justice. The show offered a hero and my pain was satiated.
But life does not always offer a hero as our stories do. A masked man does not show up and take away the evil and punish injustice. We get to read about it on the internet. We get to watch in on TV and we get to experience it in out communities. Where are the heroes? I think this is why the movie Boondock Saints (1999) was such a cult classic, why it became so popular. “Maybe someone should just kill them all?” This is our temptation. If we can just get rid of evil people we would feel better. But does simply getting rid of evil repair the reason for it? The reason for evil is that man’s relationship with God is broken.
But our relationship with sin is so ingrained that evil begins to conjure desire for reasons rather than heroes. I should desire a time when wrongs are righted. I should be trusting in the one who will act justly whether with judgment or mercy. As a Christian I should rest in what Paul says from Acts 17.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
A Christian should never lament that there is no justice. This is to say there is no God. God will come again and he will render judgment. I do not need to worry about anyone getting away with anything, no matter how long ago it happened, or how the system worked or failed to serve justice. God will be just and he will balance the books.
But do I believe that? As a Christian am I overly wrought with worry and overly distraught with the lack of justice? Do I scream at the evil in the world as a non believer does? Do I scream at the injustice in Washington as a non believer does? Do I really believe that things are so far out of God hands that nothing can be done?
It is one thing to pain over tragedy it is another to harden our hearts because justice is never done. As the Bible says “Be angry but do not sin.”
Justice is coming, a hero is on the way. All those who thought they got away with it. All those who we wonder if they got away with it. All those who still cause death and destruction. All those travesties that we read about and don’t. All the victims we know about and don’t. All the times we have to stop watching, stop reading, and stop listening because it is just too overwhelming. All the unchecked evil will give account. This is the Christian worldview.
And when he comes he will stand on the Mount of Olives they will see him, him who was pierced for our sins and killed for our injustice. The world will bend the knee and every mouth will be stopped and every mouth will confess that he is Lord either willingly or not.
I don’t have to grasp at answers. I don’t have to worry about injustice. I can rest in my Hero.