The God of Justice

Monday, June 1, 2020
Hello everyone. Today I've titled my post The God of Justice and I wanted to share how I have recently been seeking to understand God’s justice and some biblical verses/principles that I've been meditating on. I was planning to do a testimony regarding the family dysfunction and abuse that I endured and how I'm unpacking the trauma of the past and reconciling that with my faith in God and His word, however, I wanted to share this post first because it is so relevant right now.

God Justice

The God of Justice

During the past few months, I have been experiencing flashbacks to trauma I'd faced from physical and emotional abuse, rejection, emotional manipulation, etc. Despite seeing firsthand the miraculous works God had been doing in my life, certain troubles seemed to trigger former traumatic responses. With that came condemnation and shame. I had doubts or trouble believing God loved me and was for me. As a result, I let the troubles, rejection, and my past failures define my worth and somewhere along the way I had attempted to earn God's love because that is what I'd done in the past and that was what was expected in my past relationships. Even so, it was never enough. I started experiencing anxiety and fear to an almost unbearable degree. The isolation from the pandemic and knowing I was alone, aside from my preschooler, made it even scarier for me. The flashbacks felt as if I was that girl from the past living in that environment of abuse. I began feeling rage, frustration, and despair. I couldn't reconcile my desire to please God and live uprightly with the experiences I was walking through. I became stuck in panic, fear, and anxiety. 

I was also fearful because I didn't want God to see me in my weakness or Him to know my thoughts. I knew that the condition of my heart couldn't be pleasing to Him. Still, I cried out to God and of course he answered. I began the journey of unpacking my memories and addressing errors in my mindset that I've accumulated for over ten years. It's been frustrating reliving heartbreaking experiences that I endured, especially those that were from no fault of my own. However, even dealing with the consequences of my own choices were troubling because I could see how I kept reacting to what I saw and not walking in genuine faith. I didn't understand why this was happening now and to such a great degree and I absolutely did not want to face myself and my issues. I had serious doubts about if I could even handle it. 

Vengeance is God's alone.

I was angered by the realization that I had to deal with this and I immediately looked to the situation and figured that if I hadn't gone through that, then I wouldn't be in this place of struggle or trouble. But there is no way to the other side, except to walk through it. Right through those feelings of panic, regret, and sorrow. My feelings challenged the desire to submit everything to God, but I had to deal with it because I was stuck in it. I had to GENUINELY forgive the past, GENUINELY let it go, and GENUINELY move on. I had to GENUINELY trust God with my life and leave my idea of what my life was supposed to be or how I could redeem myself behind. It didn't matter that things were unresolved or that despite my best efforts I couldn't change my relationship with my family alone. I had to lay it down and no matter how frustrating feeling rejected and unseen or unworthy felt, I had to deal with those feelings and come to terms with the fact that I had been waiting on some form of genuine reconciliation or breakthrough before I was willing to move on. Further, my attempts to have some resemblance of a relationship kept reopening wounds from even more dysfunction that arose due to unresolved resentments from a divided home life. Confronting those behaviors only made me appear to be a problem in my family's eyes. Forgiveness meant ignoring the issues and going along with it, while hiding my feelings. It only opened up the door to more confusion, misunderstandings, and division. It only kept me a slave to unhealthy and disingenuous circumstances. 

Feeling repeatedly rejected from my family and especially my mother is the greatest heartbreak of my life, but imagining that she couldn't receive the truth of what our family life was like and how it affected me was the icing on the top of pain that I couldn't seem to move on from. Still, I knew that I had to create boundaries for myself and I had to let it go. I had to keep moving. I'd gotten to that revelation after the feelings of wanting to run and escape subsided. The intensity of those feelings and the pain took my breath away at first, but I had to walk in what is and not what was or could have been. I had to give God my feelings of injustice and confusion. I had to face my feelings of mistrust and feeling like God didn't care about my heartbreaks and sorrows. I had to deal with the feeling that what was done to me was being justified somehow. Those feelings weren't legitimate. If God didn't care, he wouldn't have tried to lead me to a new future or give me a new hope. It was me who was allowing my feelings, confusion, and fear of the unknown keep me from moving into the potential of good plans that He had for me. 

Justice God's Way (God Cares & He Will Repay)

Being angry at injustice, abuse, or any mistreatment is normal, but holding on to that anger will cause bitterness and hate to form in your heart. I didn't deal with the emotions in the past because I thought I was overcoming by not thinking about it or dealing with it. That caught up to me. I wasn't acknowledging my feelings at all. Fortunately, I learned from leaders who had faced difficult situations that casting their cares on God and praying about their feelings helped them to heal from negative emotions and find peace and a deeper trust in God. That step may seem difficult if you are a person like me who tends to focus on the problem and even worse if you are a person
(like me again) who tries to take control and solve the problem on your own. From my experience, I tend to make things worse in terms of trying to solve a relational issue in that way. The problem with that is that it takes two people willing to listen to each other's perspectives and who want to reach an understanding to resolve the issue. So, I believe that remembering (or actually believing) that God cares about our suffering and has seen that mistreatment is a powerful truth to hold on to.

Another important principle to remember is that with God, everything goes back to love. Loving God  first fully and completely and then loving each other as we love ourselves. God is love and there is no darkness in Him. Jesus came not to condemn anyone, but rather to save anyone who will accept Him and live for Him, by His Spirit, because without faith in Him, we can never be righteous. There is nothing about us that is good without God's grace. We can't earn it. It's a gift and trying to live upright in our own strength will just bring trouble like I described earlier when I admitted I tried to earn God and suffered with extreme fear and anxiety. I had to put my faith in Jesus again and allow Him to lead me. With that being said, I believe God wants us to let go of the desire to repay evil or avenge ourselves from those who have wronged us. HOWEVER, I also believe that it is important for us to speak up and confront wrongs that people have committed against us and to support and defend others who have been wronged because in that way we are loving our neighbors as ourselves.

So, I will now leave some verses that I think demonstrate God's idea of justice.

  • Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:14-15)
  • Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:17-18)
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." (Romans 12:19-20)
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
  • For we are his (Christ's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
  • If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it tot the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
  • (Final Judgment) Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:37-40)

Even writing this, I know it is so contrary to the world's idea of justice. The world lays out a case and brings judgment and wants to see the guilty suffer. Even so, if we really look at ourselves and our hearts and what we would deserve if our sins were laid out before the world and more importantly, before God, we would not be so quick to think in that way. We would then want mercy and for others to love us as they loved themselves. I can speak firsthand that living with some of the things I've done is one of the hardest things in my life that I face. Knowing that I hurt others and that they can't see how much I regret it and knowing that I continually hurt God when I sin is hard. How do we know what someone else has been through and what they will go through or the consequences they will face when they realize the gravity of what they've done by hurting others (which is really hurting themselves and God)? The longer I live, the more I see that God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I hope we will all be courageous enough to confront evil, defend the weak and powerless, and to love each other despite it all. I know just how much I need God's help in this area, even as I share what I believe to be true.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Until next time,

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