Wanting Justice

Evil is everywhere. Last year, not far from where I was living, 57 civilians were massacred by political rivals. Many of these people weren't simply killed. It was brutal. Deep in my heart, I must confess that there was a personal cry for justice, I wanted God to severely punish the perpetrators. The whole point of the book of Jonah is not about a big fish. It's actually about a God who extends His love, even to the worst of us. Jonah was sent to announce God's judgment to the citizens of Nineveh, a city of especially brutal people. They committed horrifying acts against conquered foes. Jonah quite naturally didn't want to take God's message to them. So he headed by ship in the opposite direction (1:1-3). That's where the big fish comes in (vv.15-17). Through divine intervention, Jonah eventually arrived in Nineveh with the Lord's message for the people. But instead of ignoring it, the people actually repented (3:7-9). Ergo, no judgment (v.10). Jonah was furious (4:1-3). We do have a God of justice who declares: "I will take revenge. I will pay them back" (Romans 12:19). In an obscure prophecy found in the book of Nahum, God declares what He would eventually do to Nineveh (chapters 2–3). Justice. But we also have a Savior who, as He was being crucified, called for His executioners to receive mercy: "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Mercy. Mercy and justice: two sides of the same coin. It's a message God wants us to convey to everyone, even to the worst among us. , Tim Gustafson

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