This has really been pressing on me lately so I wanted to put it down on paper, metaphorically speaking.
So, obviously, a "big" thing in our country right now is the Darren Wilson decision to not be taken to trial for the killing of Michael Brown. Since the ruling by the grand jury came out, there has been a cornucopia of opinions and actions done. Some good, some bad. There have been peaceful protests, but there have also been violent riots and looting. There has been honest debate on how to better our justice system, but there has also been a ridiculous amount of demagoguery. Here is the main thing that has stood out to me, and it is an issue that I have legitimately almost NEVER heard anyone discuss that seems like it should be at the forefront:
We, the American people, are a people that are bent on vengeance.
As I see the all of the reaction about the court decision on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and all that, it bothers me a little bit. There are definitely some great reactions, ranging from personal friends to random celebrities. For instance, I loved Benjamin Watson's response about the whole ordeal. (For those that don't know, Watson is an NFL player). I don't wanna go find the link, so just Google it if you haven't read it yet, it's definitely worthwhile. On the other hand, MOST of the responses I have seen from fellow Christians on facebook have all been about JUSTICE. My last blog post dealt with this topic, but I wanna take it a little further in this one.
To me, justice is the way of the old covenant...aka Old Testament. Jesus came, and he replaced justice with something even better: mercy. Jesus preached mercy and grace, not justice. I remember that time when Jesus was talking about what to do if someone strikes you on the cheek. Didn't he say, "hit them back." NO!? He said turn the other cheek! Truly, for justice to be done, then you must strike the person back. An eye for an eye. That is justice. That is the old way. Jesus gave us something better though: FORGIVENESS.
Forgiveness is SUCH A BIG DEAL!!!! THANK GOD that we aren't judged by justice and that we don't live in a perfectly just world. A perfectly just world would be a NIGHTMARE for me. I really do believe that if our country was perfectly just, more than 50% of the population would belong in jail...myself included. I would be in jail for stealing music at the very least. Others would be in jail for TONS of other things wherever justice was applied.
The BIGGEST thing that bothers me about the Ferguson protests is the slogan "No Justice, No Peace." In particular, it bothers me when CHRISTIANS promote this ideology. It is, in my opinion, COMPLETELY anti-Christian. Name me one time Jesus demanded justice before he offered peace. Jesus was certainly the victim of injustice, but he only offered peace in return. THAT is how we are to be too.
Justice demands retribution. True justice means that every wrong must be repaid to the wrong-doer in equal. Ever heard the phrase, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind?" Well, it carries a lot of weight. Justice is an insufficient way to conduct our society. If we can't do better than justice, then prejudice, grudges, hatred, and bigotry will be continually passed down from generation to generation.
I didn't even really mean to be harping on the Ferguson scenario in particular, because I was just as disgusted (in fact, even moreso) when Osama Bin Laden was killed. Everyone was celebrating vigorously over the death of this man, because we finally had our retribution. We had our VENGEANCE.
I KNOW that that seems right. I KNOW that it FEELS right....but it isn't. We are supposed to LOVE OUR ENEMIES. It might be the most difficult of all the things Jesus told us to do, but we still have to try! I remember being disgusted at how bloodthirsty our nation was that night. I understand he was a bad man, but Jesus still loved him. We have to keep in mind that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against Satan and the devils that follow him.
I'm not saying that justice should not be striven for. I'm saying that if we stop our aspirations at justice, we haven't gone far enough. We are called by our Lord to be better than that. We are called to forgive REGARDLESS of repentance from those that sin against us. Vengeance belongs to God. Let Him deal with that. As long as we keep relying on our "justice system" here in America....we are going to be SORELY disappointed time and time again.
I seriously have so much more to say to expand on this, but it would be far too much to read, haha. So, I hope whatever I said made sense, and, until next time.....PEACE!!!
P.S. Also, for the record, I am not exonerating myself from the content of this blog. I am guilty of hating my enemies a lot of times too (Satanists and Illuminists in particular). I need to be better about forgiving.