Today, at my AWANA Trek meeting (bible study for teens), we talked about justice. When you first think of justice, you probably picture a courtroom with a guy in a powdered wig raising a wooden stick (I forgot what they are called), booming, "GUILTY!" (Yes, I do love the show Shark, if that’s what you’re thinking.) Justice is found in another place: right here at home. What is justice outside the courtroom?
- doing the right thing
- making wrong things right – fixing problems
- being fair
- helping others be fair
Micah 3:8 says, "He [God] has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." This was one of my memory verses today. Being the procrastinator that I am, I memorized them lickety-split in the car on the way to church.
What are we to do?
- be good (like God has shown you)
- be just (act justly)
- be merciful (love mercy)
- walk humbly (with God)
God is a just God. God is totally fair. As my youth leader put it, "He doesn’t say, ‘Oh, it’s ok that Hannah did this, because she’s my favorite, but Melissa, well, she’s gotta go.’"
How can God be just?
- He does not have favorites
- He loves everyone, including you
- He is perfect
- He is fair
- He knows what is in your heart, so he knows your motives
- He knows what you’ll do in the future
The Bible mentions several times the justness of God. In Numbers 16, God showed justice to Korah, who didn’t like Moses’ leadership. Korah wanted to be first and in control. By rebelling against Moses, Korah was rebelling against God, because Moses was a man of God who did what God told him to do. God punished Korah by opening the ground and swallowing up Korah and everything that belonged to him. It was like he had never even existed!
Now, listen to this. Korah came up with his buds to Moses and Aaron and said, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?" (Numbers 16:3) What did Moses do? He fell flat on his face and asked the Lord for help. He then stood up and said, "In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to Him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near Him." (verse 5) Moses didn’t do what you and I would have probably done. Moses didn’t defend himself. He didn’t even talk about how long he had led all the Israelites in the desert and how he and God provided for them. He didn’t mention what God had already done through his leadership. As my Trek book puts it, "He simply left it in the Lord’s hands." And bad-guy Korah was punished.
If you did something really wrong, God would punish you. He would even punish you if you did a little thing wrong. Bad things may happen to us simply because we were born, because we’re all born with sin.
This is just. Sin must be punished. Justice shown to you is a gift. When you sneak out to go to a party, being grounded from sports, TV, and the phone may seem harsh and definitely not fun, but it’s really a gift. We can learn from our mistakes if we take the time to think about them. Now you know that there are consequences for your actions, and that doing wrong things doesn’t pay. Now, hopefully you won’t sneak out again.
Hopefully the person who wronged me will never do it again – to anyone. Hopefully she has learned a lesson. Hopefully she is sorry for what she has done (I’m pretty sure she is). Meanwhile, I can show her love and mercy and justice by giving her friendship and boundaries. Maybe something good will come out of this.
I hope to continue discussing justice and mercy with you in the next part of Order in the Court, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, please pray for the person I have mentioned. I will not abuse her trust by releasing her name here, but I will ask you to pray that she will learn from this mistake.