Leaving Justice to God
There is definitely a tension when it comes to forgiving others who have wronged you. In some cases, the other person won’t want peace. Instead, they will elevate conflict... and if there isn’t any conflict, they will try to create it. For others, you may be saying, “That person does not need reconciliation. That person needs justice in the form of a prison sentence.”
It is important to remember that the grace of God and the reconciliation process don’t abdicate the process of justice. It just reassigns justice. When you forgive, you resign from being the arbiter and the effector of the justice against that person. You choose to assign that role to God.
You can seek peace, and if necessary seek justice, but then you leave the outcome in God’s hands. You focus on peace, not on making someone pay for his hurt against you. You refuse to allow seeking retribution to become your mission in life.
Now, being an agent of peace doesn’t mean you choose to be blind to danger. If you and/or your family is at risk from someone, your mission is to get yourself and them in a safe place. In some relationships, you may need to adjust some things, set some boundaries, and establish some distance. But from a place of protection, you can still live with an attitude that says, “I have to get away from you right now, but I want to try, by the power of God, to live at peace with you in my heart. If it’s possible for me to do that with you, that’s what I’m going to seek. But if it’s only possible for me to do that away from you, that’s what I’m going to seek.”
Always remember that the Holy Spirit is the agent of peace. He brings your spirit to life. And when your spirit comes to life, Christ takes up residence in you and you have a brand new life! You now live by the power of the Spirit, not by your sinful nature. The fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy and peace, patience, goodness, and self-control—and these are all things you need for reconciliation. These are the gifts you need in relationships where there is real hatred, animosity, bitterness, pain, and big-time wounds.
You can depend on the power of the Spirit as you walk in the Spirit and live in peace not in war. For what purpose? So that Jesus can be glorified and so that many people’s lives can be changed. The possibility of peace that God creates in you impacts the people on both sides of reconciliation—beyond yourself and the person you seek to reconcile. When you seek peace and leave seeking justice to God, you bring people—maybe even nations—to Christ.
In what relationships do you feel you need justice? What is your role in seeking peace with those individuals? What boundaries do you need to set up to protect yourself?
Where do you need to seek peace in your heart over the pain of a relationship? How can you find peace even if that relationship is not repairable?
How might your example of seeking peace in a difficult relationship impact the people in your life? How can the power of the Holy Spirit in your life draw others to faith in Jesus?