I Demand (My Version of) Justice
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24
Most of us in chemical dependency treatment were compelled by some outside force to be there. This meant that most of us felt that in some way, we were being mistreated. It’s not fair! I shouldn’t have to stay this long. I’m the victim. I demand justice! Justice was about the last thing we truly wanted. What we really wanted was mercy and leniency for our bad behavior. We only wanted fairness to be applied in the way that benefitted us the most.
Most of us are like this. We demand justice when we are being mistreated, but when it is we who have sinned, we prefer mercy and forgiveness. Like David, in the Psalms, we cry out for God’s righteousness when someone else behaves badly, but when the transgression is ours, we plead for mercy.
When we look at the world and wonder why God allows people to do such horrible things, we question his justice. How can a good God allow another to treat me so badly? It’s not fair. Why doesn’t God do something? I demand justice! If we are going to question God though, we should be honest enough to make it personal, Why does God allow me to sin? Why does God allow me to hurt others?
Amos says, in today’s passage, that God is just, and that justice will one day roll down like waters. The problem of course, is that God’s justice probably looks very little like our version of it. We don’t truly want justice, we just want the world to work out according to our preferences. Justice though, works both ways. Justice means that all wrongs, even ours, are punished. Justice is the antithesis of grace, mercy and forgiveness.
When we cry out for God’s justice to roll down like waters, we must realize that when it does, we should get wet too. Thankfully, Christ died for us, so that we will not face eternal punishment for our sins. When we cry out for justice, we must realize what that would actually look like if applied to us. We must remember that God is just, but that he is also forgiving and merciful, to us – and to others.