That’s Not Fair.
1 Peter 2:19,20 When, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly…if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
My sense of justice is usually most overactive when I am applying it to everyone but me. It does not matter how wrong I have been, if I feel some slight, I will in anger, object to that injustice. That’s not fair! I have rights!
Most of my misery in life is self-inflicted, but I will eventually be the victim of injustice or persecution. Often times, this is a perceived injustice that really may not be as egregious as I thought it was. It is often my biased view of a situation that causes me to think I am being treated unfairly.
I often tell my kids the tale of two patients, one with a split lip and one with a broken nose. The story of the first was that he was minding his own business, just walking down the street when someone came up and (for no reason) hit him in the mouth with a beer bottle, splitting his lip. In response, he punched the other, breaking his nose. When I interviewed the second patient, he too was walking down the street, minding his own business when (for no reason) someone walked up and punched him, breaking his nose… Both were apparent victims of injustice, each completely convinced of their own innocence. Both of course, were in complete denial of reality.
Still, I will, eventually be the recipient of injury or accusations that I have played no part in. The few times this has happened to me, I have not handled it well. I have seen the injustice as justification for taking the gloves off. I have, in my anger, become part of the problem.
Peter says that when our eyes are on God, we will have the grace to act rightly. We will suffer and endure, knowing that our right behavior is more important than our perceived sense of justice. If I am wronged and act wrong in return, I have failed, even if I think I have satisfied my sense of justice. If however, I act rightly, remaining humble in the face of injustice, I show the grace of God shining through me.
In demanding justice for myself, I show that my eyes are focused on me and I usually cause more destruction. When however, I endure suffering, I show that my eyes are focused on God and thus, I receive grace and life.