God is not unjust.
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (NIV)
We have all struggled with anger and bitterness because of the unfairness and injustice we have seen and experienced. So, how do we reconcile the truth that God is not unjust? How can we see God as just in a world so messed up?
First, we must understand that God’s justice comes partially in the immediate while the fullness of justice is delayed until the end.
It is easy to see that when we live in obedience to Christ by loving Him and our neighbor as ourselves, for the most part, we receive a reward from people’s responses. When we are kind, people mostly respond with kindness. When we work hard, we most often get recognition and promotion. When we love, we are loved most of the time. God rewards us but His justice is partial. Sometimes, we can do all God has called us to do and still be the victim of injustice, unfairness, and hatred. This is what happened to Jesus after all.
If God’s reward came to us fully right now in this world, we would be tempted to live as God commands, not out of love, but to get something from God. We would not be loving God, but manipulating Him. His partial justice in the here and now gives us the opportunity to honor Him knowing we may not be rewarded. This reflects a true love for God beyond manipulation.
God’s justice for bad behavior is also partial now. Wickedness doesn’t get what it deserves. The Bible reminds us that God is patient with everyone giving them time to turn back to Him. We must frame God’s mercy to the wicked in a way that increases our confidence in His patience with us, and forgiveness of our sin. If God can be patient with those who are not even trying, how much more patient will He be with us who are trying even though we still fail?
In the end, His justice will be complete. The Bible reminds us those who live a life of faith in Christ will receive their reward in full and those who reject Christ will receive their punishment in full.
When we miss this truth, we can become embittered by what we perceive as God being unjust then we try to become the purveyor of justice ourselves. And that is not a good place to be.
Prayer: Lord, let me not get stuck in my head about the unfairness of life, but help me to see your mercy now and trust your full reward will come later. Amen.