Forgiveness or Justice?
Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive….Pay back the guilty as they deserve.
2 Chron 6
So which is it forgiveness or justice? In one breath Solomon asks the Lord to forgive the people. Seconds later he asks God to pay back the guilty and vindicate innocent.
I don’t think forgiveness comes at the expense of justice. It’s not necessarily a one or the other kind of thing. A victim can forgive the criminal but the criminal may still need to go to jail. Forgiveness removes my hand from the throat of the one who hurt me. Forgiveness means there is no more ill will, hatred or need for revenge between me and the person who violated me. However because the human is wired for justice it is certainly possible that the forgiven man may still need to “pay his debt”. In fact one could say he must. The Christian God is a God of love to be sure and forgiveness but he is also equal parts a God of justice. God is simply not going to sweep human wickedness under the rug — justice matters to God, which is why it was imperative that Jesus die. The cross of Christ is the greatest mixing of justice and love there is. Yes, the Christian is forgiven by God because of Jesus but we must never forget that a massive price was paid to satisfy the righteous need for justice. As a result, Christians care deeply about justice. The wicked must be held responsible for their evil actions, and in some cases on earth this is possible. However in other places where it’s not possible, because of corruption or the complete absense of a justice system what then? Would a Christian embrace vigilante justice? No. There are times in life when a Christian will not be able to see justice served. In those moments the Christian will still forgive but he will definitely trust that the judge of all things will serve justice one day upon the perpetrator.