Hell is the Place of Justice

I’m not a fan of justice. That makes me sound amoral and seems to set me at odds with the Jesus I call, Savior. I submit to you that Jesus was no trumpeter of justice either. In fact, I think justice reigns in hell.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

I think we have a problem here.

Do you remember the parable of the unforgiving servant? An indebted servant was brought to the king to pay his debt. Fully unable to redeem himself, the king ordered the servant to be sold along with his wife and family. The servant groveled before his master, begging to be given one more chance. “Please, please be patient and I will pay you back every single penny.”

How the servant must have staggered at the response. I imagine that he had to be helped up off the ground, so astounded was he by the mercy extended toward him.

“I forgive you all your debt. You owe me nothing.” However, his good mood was short-lived when he came upon a fellow servant who owed him a meager amount. “YOU OWE ME!”

When the tables were flipped and the first servant was in a position of power, he demanded justice. 

Consider this equation.

INJUSTICE  = JUSTICE

There’s no solution. For the most part, society operates on a system of justice. Crimes deserve punishment. Debts require payment. There’s a sense of getting even in justice. It’s like a scale. If justice is meted out in equal measure to an injustice, then we are pleased. But do we really want to spend the rest of our lives struggling to balance the equation? Is it desirable to constantly be teetering back and forth between good and evil?

What we really long for is come to a full balance of justice. We would love to land fully on the side of justice such that our fears of being offended or of being the victim of injustice are never realized. What can we apply to injustice to equal justice?

INJUSTICE + MERCY = JUSTICE

The cross of Christ was God’s ultimate display of injustice and God’s ultimate display of mercy. The consequence is JUSTICE, a justice turned on its head. The perfect man, Jesus Christ was unjustly punished for man’s offenses toward God. The only justice that God could give man, prior to the cross, was hell. And so, God applied mercy to our sins. In one action, God applied injustice to Jesus and mercy to mankind. Now, we live in the shadow of justice.

God has been paid in full for all our sins. Like the first servant in the story, man has been redeemed from his debt in a cosmic display of mercy.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Justice has been turned on its head. God’s expression of mercy changes what justice is for us. It is now JUST for us to show MERCY, for that is what was shown toward us. However, in our world, this kind of mercy leaves Christians looking like a doormat. We can only let this mercy alter our understanding of justice as we walk in humility. To live justly, we must walk humbly with our God who teaches us mercy. 

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Light and Splintered Tree

I wept as I was overwhelmed

By lists and piles of things.

I longed for simpler

Winsome days of sand and plastic swings.

Now life is running on the sand.

Each step sinking low –

Like trudging through molasses.

Frustration. Agonizing. Slow.

Must. Get. There.

Must finish, arrive.

But I often wonder what

For I am compelled to strive.

Sweat pours mingled with tears of loss.

I refuse His yoke and the weight of the cross.

If I would but stop and lower my knee.

Bend and take up that splintered tree.

If I would walk with Him, strive with Him, pull with Him.

He vowed to lessen the load.

“Easy,” He called it. “Light,” He said.

Why my pride, march on instead?

Tough Enough to Love

Is love supposed to act tough; or is love supposed to be tough enough to endure impossible situations?

 

Lest, after reading yesterday’s post, you think that I have already made up my mind, and strongly disagree with the principle of tough love in marriage, today and tomorrow I will present the other side of the issue. I have pondered and prayed about this. I don’t want to mislead anyone. I do not want to harden anyone’s heart toward their spouse or dash their hopes of a rescued marriage.

 

I wondered: are there Biblical examples of tough love? Looking for Biblical precedent is a hobby of mine. I love to scour the Old Testament to see if there’s a similar circumstance to the one I am facing. Nine times out of ten, there is. Faithful God leads by example. Sometimes through the example of his earlier children, and sometimes through His very person.

 

Consider the cross. Love has never accomplished a more excruciating feat. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that who ever believes in Him might have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 

Because a perfect blood sacrifice was the only way to pay the cost of forgiveness from sin, God willingly made that sacrifice Himself. In the name of Love, God slaughtered His only Son. Could the price have been any higher, or the pain any more insufferable? Could love have been any tougher?

 

Consider the prodigal son. A young, belligerent son scorned his generous father. With a callous shrug, he demanded his inheritance, virtually spit in his father’s face and walked out the door. How long did it take the mutinous boy to squander his money and end up dining on pig slop? What did the father endure in that time? One thing is for sure, he loved his son.

 

When the broken, humiliated rogue stumbled up the road toward his father’s home, he only hoped to be accepted as a servant. But tough love, love that withstood abandonment and rejection ran to meet him. Strong love.

 

Is tough love appropriate in marriage? At least in this context it is. It must be. Love must be strong enough to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

I See Her In My Mind’s Eye

I see her in my minds eye

She doesn’t think anyone sees her.

 

Her eyes are closed, hair swept back

Lashes wet, cheeks streaked.

She is sweetly, painfully, beautiful

But she doesn’t know this.

A dusty blue dress whips angrily around her shins.

It clings to her frail, thin frame, but she is not weak.

 

She doesn’t look hopeful, but why is she still walking?

 

A giant parachute is trapped by leather cords to her small tanned shoulders.

It to is a dusty blue, the straps are long, it is a lengthy distance behind her.

It traps the heavy headwind behind her.

What buffets her from the face also drags her from behind.

 

Things blow by her,

Debris is caught in her parachute.

Whole, heavy desks, pieces of wood, buckets and rocks, scraps and worthless junk.

She doesn’t see them.

 

She doesn’t even realize she’s near the peak of a mountain.

Miles and valleys lay behind her, terrain before is level, though not short.\

Her goal is level with her, in sight.

 

It’s a cross, a rugged, strong, splintery, empty cross.

Ironically, she’s dragging her own cross behind in her parachute.

But she longs for and needs THIS cross.

 

Despite the wind, her surrounding are beautiful.

Wild green landscape, cloudless deep blue skies at dusk.

Radiant, collapsing sun burns the embers of her horizon.

Is the day, her hope,  her time, almost gone?

 

Bloody, small knuckles grip the straps of her parachute with white death.

Why not let it go?

 

Oblivious to her audience she struggles forward.

But above her, as big as the sky is a man, an indescribable man.

His face glows with love, a gentle smile on his face.

His hands seem as large as the sky too; there are holes in them.

But held in those hands, giant scissors, one purpose.

In one simple moment, with one glance upward.

Her cords would snap and the weight be gone and would propel her forward.

The force collapse her to her knees to grip that cross instead.

Life or Death

Here is the day.

And it wasn’t my first thought.

Is that shameless forgetfulness?

Is it proof of fearlessness?

~~~~~~~~

Only a few clipped hours until

3650 hours have slipped from the clock

87000 hours have chimed

Worldwide.

Hustle schedules,

Who cries today?

Who is more alone than I have ever been?

Who’s lap is empty? Arms are limp?

Lips unmet, who’s eyes unlocked.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A moment stole joy and plans,

Two moments reformed worlds.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The earth keeled 2000 years ago,

Rocked in its bed of space.

One death overshadowed every man.

Yet so few would see

The barrier rent, the tombs expel their dead.

Reverse of pain, the end of hell.

For hope, for God’s sake, Tell!