Justice, but Judge Not

We had quite the situation yesterday: two ripped-up drawings, some screaming, and two very angry young children. Busy making the grocery list — and thus conveniently unavailable — I listened as my husband dealt with the fall-out.

“He tore up my hard work!”
“She (sob!) tore up (choking!) the sign for my door (more loud sobbing with total body tremors!)”

And then Brad’s voice, trying to restore calm “So who ripped up the first drawing? And what happened before that?” And just when it seemed the thing was solved, another fact emerged: She had drawn a picture of herself sticking her tongue out at him.

Now what, I wonder, would the nominated Sonia Sotomayor say about that?

Justice can be difficult to attain. In the United States, we understand the importance of justice and the inherent human dangers in achieving it. Our whole political system is based on the fact that the power to judge can be corrupting. We have checks and balances, a rigorous Supreme Court nomination process, and when all that fails — investigative reporting from a free press to find the error. Not that this always works, of course.

Every now and then we hear about someone who died in jail after being falsely imprisoned. Or killers and rapists being released on parole after a couple years, while less dangerous criminals serve their full term without mercy. Despite our best efforts sometimes justice eludes us.

Jesus tells us to “judge not” because He knows that no human can ever get it right — we cannot truly get to the bottom of a matter because we cannot completely know another person’s heart. We can tell something from their actions, we can judge what happens on the surface. Sometimes we must use these surface-level behavioral clues to make decisions about a person, as other passages in the Bible tell us we should be discerning and shrewd. But at a deeper level, all human judgment is inherently flawed.

Someday we will see perfect justice, tempered by perfect love. Can you imagine it?

No evil will go unpunished, no good will go unnoticed. For every hardened criminal who plans horrible acts in secret, there will be justice. For every evil force that tempted you, justice. And for everyone who deserves the worst fate justice can offer, but has humbly repented — perfect, loving mercy.

It isn’t wrong to yearn for justice, as long as we know Who alone will achieve it.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

3 thoughts on “Justice, but Judge Not

  1. Nice post Anna, when you think about the gospel it really is quite unjust….that the guilty are forgiven and the punishment due to me was given to another.
    Where the justice is in that I’m not sure……
    It speaks to me of something of the character of God that my little brain finds difficult to comprehend.
    For although God demands justice, and Himself is just and requires us to live just lives, He also grants men grace, that they may escape the justice of God.
    It can be hard to be non judgemental in this day, it can be hard to not look forward to the day in which God will judge the heavens and the earth, in can be hard not to want to condemn the culture when you feel like Lot living in Sodom.
    Yet at this present time I can only presume that God is not that interested in us condemning that which is lost, for what fruit is there in this for Him, what inheritance for His kingdom, but rather that we continue to offer them truth and grace that they may escape the judgement of God.

    But for the grace of God, there go I……

    Bless His name.
    Tim

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  2. Hi Tim,
    You make some thought provoking points here — that the gospel is unjust. Why that one Man should suffer so much, who had not done anything wrong — you’re right, there’s not much justice for Him. Our pastor said something the other day about the cross being the ultimate example of God’s character — love for humanity, justice for sin — in one giant paradox of an event.
    There’s justice in the spiritual realm, too. God is the ultimate judge of everything evil — every spirit and authority that oppresses, that leads us into darkness and away from Truth. Until that final judgment, believers have a battle to fight. And I totally agree with you that condemning the lost is a harmful dead end, when we could better spend our days sharing His love with people, and praying in the Spirit against evil.
    Thanks as always for your good thoughts
    Anna

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  3. I’ve long been meaning to thank you for stopping by (not to mention commenting at ^_^) the Nothing is Impossible Ministries’ blog! I don’t know if you’ve been back or have continued reading but Christopher recently wrote a post on judgment too: STOP with the judging already

    You make an important distinction. Although we should — & cannot help but — seek justice, it must be in as fair & measured a way as possible; never reliant solely on one’s own judgment.

    (|_|*cheers*|_|)
    “To sit in judgment of those things which you perceive to be wrong or imperfect is to be one more person who is part of judgment, evil or imperfection.” ~ Wayne Dyer

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