“It’s not fair!” Three words common to every child. And no doubt, every one of us has either thought or said those words. From the very earliest years we have built into us a sense of justice. Of fairness.
We all have experienced the pain of injustice in our lives. For some, it’s being wronged in ways that have shattered your life. But for most of us it’s been a point in time when we’ve been treated unfairly. I don’t know what you’ve been through, but experiencing injustice can cause you to lose faith in both people and institutions.
It was a Christmas Eve for me. My wife and I were driving to dinner after attending a Christmas Eve service. I remember feeling pretty chilled out and was going a bit slower than I would normally drive. No hurry as traffic around me rushed by. After all, it was Christmas Eve.
All of a sudden there was a police car behind me, lights on. So I pulled into the other lane thinking he was going after the car that had just gone by. Nope. He was after me. When he pulled me over, he said I was going nearly 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. I knew that was flat out wrong. But no convincing the officer. I was so frustrated and a bit angry that I was being punished for something that I didn’t do.
That speeding ticket was an injustice that made me lose a bit of faith in the system. And it made me empathize with those who have been unjustly accused or who have received a punishment for something they didn’t do.
Perhaps you’ve been falsely accused. Or unjustly punished. Or you’ve just been treated unfairly. Life is filled with injustice, both small and significant. And it can, in fact, undermine your trust in people and institutions.
The good news is that justice is a non-negotiable to God. We are told in Psalm 11:7 that the Lord, “loves justice.” And in the Psalm above we are told that It is the very foundation of His rule and authority. Our God is perfectly just. As 2 Chronicles 19:7 says, "for with the Lord our God there is no injustice.” None. He is never unfair. You will never get punished for something you didn’t do, and you will always get what is rightfully yours.
In an article for Relevant magazine, Tim Keller notes not only how important justice is to God, but what it really means:
The Hebrew word for “justice,” mishpat, occurs in its various forms more than 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Its most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty.
But mishpat means more than just the punishment of wrongdoing. It also means giving people their rights. Deuteronomy 18 directs that the priests of the tabernacle should be supported by a certain percentage of the people’s income. This support is described as “the priests’ mishpat,” which means their due or their right. Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.
With God, you will always be dealt with justly. In fact, He will go to the ultimate lengths to ensure justice is served.
Think about this: because justice is a non-negotiable with God, He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the ultimate price for your sin. Otherwise God’s justice would demand eternal damnation because of your sin. Instead, justice has been fully satisfied through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And by placing your faith in Jesus, you have been justified before God. Fully. Forever.
That’s why Paul could pen these words in Romans 8:1-2:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Jesus has taken the full weight of condemnation for your sin. So you are fully justified in Him.
But God’s justice goes beyond that. His being perfectly just means He will never treat you unfairly as you travel this life. He will never wrong you. Yes, you will suffer the injustice of this broken world, but you can always trust God’s just and fair treatment of you. Today and for eternity. You can rest in that.
RESPOND: Thank God that you can trust Him to always treat you fairly.