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