God Is

Day 38

God Is Sovereign
Over Injustice

Read your Bible: Psalm 75

Spotlight Verse:

It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall.Psalm 75:7

Millions were captivated recently by the story of Jaycee Lee Dugard. A California girl kidnapped when she was just 11 years old, Jaycee was found alive 18 years later, living in virtual slavery in the backyard of the man who abducted her.

I knew her family.

The kidnapping happened when I was a pastor in South Lake Tahoe, and I spoke several times afterward to her stepfather and mother. People in our church helped organized meals and marches for the community group “Jaycee’s Hope.” A small group of us would go to coffee after letter-mailing or marching with Jaycee’s mom, doing our best to encourage her and to assure her of our prayers.

One day I asked her, “How are you holding up through all of this?”

I will never forget her response. She told me, “I am clinging to the idea that ultimately God is in charge of justice here. Either He will answer our prayers and bring Jaycee back, or if that doesn’t happen, He will make sure justice gets done, here or in the hereafter.” She held my gaze for a moment, and then said, “I would go crazy if I did not believe that.” This was many years before she was reunited with Jaycee.

The justice of God is one of the implications of his sovereignty. If I believe He rules, then I believe He will bring a fair and just resolution to all that I now see left undone. He will right every wrong, punish the evildoers, mete out retribution.

Among other things, this means I do not need to be a vigilante. He promises, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked.”

Free From Revenge

This became personal for me when I realized I still struggled with hatred against the piano teacher who molested me when I was a child. As far as I know there was never any legal action taken against him. I had long forgotten his name, but not my intense feelings of anger and fantasies of vengeance.

Finally one night, while taking the last freeway exit on the drive home, I realized I had to do something. I noticed I had a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel and was once again imagining torturing this man in quite graphic detail.

I pulled over and said, “God, You are sovereign. I don’t even know this man’s name anymore. I don’t know how I could possibly pursue legal action against him. I have been spinning my wheels in this patch of filth for years. I hate him so much. But You are in control. You have the authority to punish, and You promise to do what is fair. I release him to You. Please let me live in hatred no longer.”

Usually when I turn something I am struggling with over to God, growth is gradual and slow. But in this instance I can say that I felt an immediate relief that has endured to this day.

I’m not saying your sense of relief will be that instant. Maybe it will; maybe the struggle to forgive will take longer. You are no worse than I am if it does take longer; I was blessed in this case with what I believe to be a miracle of healing.

But if vengeance fantasies and hatred have been plaguing you, I want to encourage you to begin to give that longing for revenge to the sovereign God. At least tell Him, “I don’t want to give this to You, so please help me.”

Of course, if there is a way to seek legal recourse, I encourage you to do that as well — our society needs to be protected against these predators — but even then do it without hatred or vengeance.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

God is… the ultimate Judge.

Questions For Reflection

What is the advantage to letting God avenge, in His time and in His way, rather than taking vengeance into your own hands?

Have you had any situations like René’s, where you had to let go of bitterness and release the injustice to God’s control? What happened? Is there a situation you’re currently struggling with? How can you apply what you’ve learned and begin to release that situation?