All In The Name of Justice….or is it?

It is so easy to caught up and held up in the whole what is right and what is wrong.  I find myself there much too often.  After all we do have laws!  So how is it that someone can break the law and get away with it without someone crying for justice?  Especially if you yourself had rightfully (morally) and maybe even legally wronged?

I have personally fell in this trap with my boys father owing child support.  He owes over $100K in child support.  There has been no enforcement despite the laws that allow them to do so.  His family enables his crimes against us with full knowledge that the oldest is totally disabled and will never be self sustaining.  It is legally and morally WRONG.  We never asked for this.  A dear family member of mine, blind sided by divorce.  He comes home and is told in a nut shell “I have been wanting to leave lady_justice_by_sadthree-d35nicpfor over a year, sign this and I won’t keep MY kids from you.  You are to move out and leave everything…”  He never saw it coming.  It is straight up morally WRONG.  He never asked for this.  My mother living on SS had her car breakdown.  Not wanting to tow it out of town takes it to the mechanic nearest by.  He quotes her, promises to fix it.  She being on a fixed income trickles payments to him.  9 months later, $900 lost, he is gone (evicted out of his shop), car is in pieces, not even any new parts purchased.  He is not worth suing.  She is out a car and $900 that is nearly impossible to replace.  It is legally and morally WRONG.  She never asked for this.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to live in this world and not have the opportunity to be offended.  It is not a matter of if it will happen but when and how often.  Our response determines our future.  So how do we respond?  If you anything like me where thinking for the most part is very black and white, where wrong is wrong and right is right, then you will become ensnared as a “justice seeker”.  Or others have seen have fallen trap to pride.  Ever heard the wounded say “…I’m okay” or “…I will be fine”.  They deny that just how deeply they have been wounded and ultimately never deal with it, that pain roots into bitterness, anger/rage even, and resentment.  All of which can lead to an even worse condition of hardheartedness, insensitivity, ultimately hindering you from hearing God’s voice.  This condition will set you up to be lead into total deception.  Just because you were mistreated does not put you in the right to hold onto the offense.  Two wrongs never equal a right.  An offense not dealt with properly simply leads us away from the heart of God, and ultimately we produce the fruits of sin.

So if we acknowledge this, then it feels as if we are unable to do anything in response to the offense.  I have many times turned to God and asked, “Don’t you have my back?”  “Do you not see?”  “How can they just get away with this?” God almost seems to turn a blind eye.  We feel ignored or abandoned (here is the start of the deception!).  Straight up:  Present, immediate justice is not God’s agenda.  As my pastor told me regarding this subject:

How can you love your enemies if you want them to fry. 

YIKES.  Okay I get it, this is not new….the whole we must love our enemies command gets me more often then I would like to admit (could that be a dose of  pride?).

24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach,and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.  2Tim 2:24-26 HCSB

“…gentle to EVERYONE….”  It does not say to those whom are nice to us.  His will is ultimately to bring them into repentance and knowledge of Him and His Word to EVERYONE.  That won’t happen if their feet are held over coals.

Remember the Lord uses ALL things to work towards the good for those that love Him (Rm 8:28).  Many times the worst of the worst offenses refine us.  Let me explain:  The refining process (when speaking of gold) causes the impurities to come to the top or surface if you will.  They can then be removed (dealt with).  An issue with forgiveness, anger, faith, or any other sin can not be dealt with if not brought to the surface.  You will come out on top if you handle it God’s way.  It is no mistake that the root of the word offense is the Greek skan-dal-id’-zo:  to entice to sin to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, become ensnared or tangled, metaph. to offend.  In other words for one to offend you, you are being caused to sin.  Do not fall into this trap!

No where does God promise immediate judgement for wrongs.  He does not play games of tit-for-tat.  However, God does promise ultimate justice upon His return.

It is a clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 2Thes 1:5-8 HCSB

He will have vengeance on those who do not obey, and those who refuse to know Him.  But He honestly wishes for ALL to be save, for ALL to come to know him.  To be in alignment with the Lord means we must demonstrate HIS love.  We can not do that and be “justice seekers”.

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Prison meal a day: $.81 A prisoner’s value: Priceless

Today I was just humming along to the radio as I started a very busy day.  The days events ran thru my brain like a loco-motive (emphasis on loco).  Yet like a scratch on a chalk board my attention was drawn by two DJ’s having a conversation about a guy on death row suing the State of Idaho Corrections Department.  The jest of the suit is that recently the Department of Corrections has stopped serving 3 meals on weekends.  The incarcerated get 2.  The complainant has raised concerns over health and how he is losing weight.  But that was not my concern, nor do I have an opinion one way or another over 2 meals or 3 meals.  I know families that would love to enjoy the security of knowing they have a single balanced meal a day.  What got my goat was how they referred to this man on death row.  They had such contempt for him.  In their discussion they devalued him in such a way that they were actually proud of his dismay.

I have been deeply involved in prison/jail ministry so maybe that is why I see this as a non-issue.  But when should a persons value EVER be an issue?  Whether it be the prisoner that committed the most heinous crimes, or its the homeless man who fights daily with his demons of addiction, or even more close to home, the neighbor who neglects her kids.  We ought to see others with the vision that the Lord has for them, with the same heart.  I am NOT saying that there should not be consequences for crimes committed.  I am not saying that we need to be ignorant as to the character and the inability for these people to be contributing citizens to any community outside the confines of prison.  What I am saying is that we must still value them…we must still value their place here on earth, we must value the fact that they were created.  Most of all we must value that Christ died for them the same as He died for us.  Above that we must recognize that he would still die for them despite their crimes, no matter how horrific.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:8-10 HCSB)

“FOR WE ARE HIS CREATION…”  Straight up, you insult anyone’s value, you insult the creator, God Himself.

16 From now on, then, we do not knowanyone in a purely human way.  Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2Cor 5:17-18 HCSB)

WE TRULY KNOW NOTHING.  Only God is the judge, because only He knows a man’s heart.  We must acknowledge and value ANYONE’S coming to Christ — Irregardless of their past.

Ultimately, we must NEVER question a person’s value to God.

14 For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. 15 And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer knowHim in this way.(2 Cor 5:14-16 HCSB)

No one is a throw away.  No one ought be considered as disposable.  We must never take joy in ANYONE’S suffering or ultimately their death.

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Probable Vs. Godable

It has been little over a month since I have written.  I have some how been misled with the assumption that I what I write needs to be at a certain standard of “worthiness” to share.  That standard was my own and once again my own standard have been proven to be less then acceptable.

I have been captivated by a very familiar piece of scripture.  One that is so familiar that it is practically memorized.  We hear this very familiar passage read almost every Easter, from the Book of John:

20 On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!”

At that, Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then, following him, Simon Peter came also. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. The wrapping that had been on His head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself. The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then entered the tomb, saw, and believed. For they still did not understand the Scripture that He must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went home again.

11 But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus.

15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”—which means “Teacher.”

17 “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.”

18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them whatHe had said to her.

Upon Mary’s approach her immediate response was “They have taken the Lord…” (V2).  This was then most logical and most probable assumption she could make, especially given the climactic atmosphere created by His death.  Two of the  disciples upon hearing Mary raced but upon reaching the empty tomb, but the unnamed disciple (Most believe that it was John) that entered the tomb “believed” (V8).  Then those two went home.  Why would they just leave?  Because there was no Jesus to look for!  THEY BELIEVED.

Mary stayed.  She was convinced that she must find his body and she was very distraught.   She was so distraught she was completely unaware as to what was at work around her.  She saw angels (who were probably perplexed at her dismay) and they just HAD to ask, “Why are you crying?” (V13).  Still unaware she goes on about the missing body and having to find it.  So much so that she was unable to recognize Jesus HIMSELF (V15) when he asked just who it was that she was looking for.  I believe that Jesus was indistinguishable from the ordinary person at this point of His resurrection.  After all wouldn’t Mary expect a battered, broken, bloody body?  But this is NOT WHAT SHE WAS EXPECTING.  It was not until he said her name (I suspect He shouted it to snap her into attention) that it struck her that this was Jesus.  But even after that she still “clung” to Him as if He was still the human Jesus.  She need to let go.  She need to move from the most probable to the God-able.  Her being unable to move from what was most probable and logical to what was in reality God-able revealed that she had not relied upon what He had taught her before His death.  He then explained that later He was to ascend to My God, your God.

You see Mary immediately jumped into the most probable explanation and expectation to explain the empty tomb.  I honestly can not blame her.  I do this every day.  I logically assess a situation, figure the most likely outcome and respond accordingly.  If you are going to be a disciple this is all backwards.  We are so inadequate to assess anything let alone have the knowledge to know what to expect.  We must be blind to the world in order to see not the most probable but the God-able.  It’s not about living with your head in the clouds.  It’s not about rejecting reality.  It’s about being SECURE and WALKING in the spirit…moving forward for the glory of God, for the work of His Kingdom DESPITE the odds.  This my friend is a topsy turvy truth of the Kingdom of God.

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