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The Difference Between Justice and Blood Lust

The Difference Between Justice and Blood Lust
Daniel Burton

by Daniel Burton

The news has been becoming bleaker and bleaker it seems these days.  At every turn, there seems to be another case of grand moral failure. We see people being caught in their sin or in failure at their job.  The news eats up this drama as well.  The news loves pointing out the failures of people, politicians, and groups presenting the videos and salacious facts.  Furthermore, their ratings are the better for it.  Thousands of people tune in more and more to see what special story has been unraveled.  Furthermore, when you come into the comments sections of most news sites, one finds the constant spewing of hate and vitriol towards the subject of the gotcha journalistic piece.

Yet, buried in the comments section and in the conversations of people in their respective churches, there seems to be a growing trend of moving swiftly to judgment.  When someone makes a mistake in their job, no matter how small the infraction, we move quickly to stating they should be fired.  When a person commits an atrocious act, the response of those of the faith has been to hunt and kill them.  All of this being guised by the call to justice.  The issue is that the scale of the punishment and how quickly the conclusion was arrived at shows that something in the heart is not asking for justice but rather for vengeance. Instead of looking for the right thing to be done, the temptation is satisfy a blood lust and see our enemies suffer.  The Gospel is ignored in our blood lust.

The Call of Justice

As Christians, we have to understand that any call for justice is an act of hypocrisy on our part.  This isn’t to say that we should never seek justice or that justice is inherently bad.  God is a God of justice.  Holiness requires the demands of justice to be met.  But the core of the Gospel is not that justice was met but rather that Christ met justice on our behalf.  Romans makes the consequences of our sin abundantly clear “‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23, NIV).  Our sins deserve death.  We have rebelled against the sovereign King. Yet, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, the blood was shed on our behalf and we do not have to endure the punishment of our sins.

We, very clearly and explicitly, do not receive justice for what we have done. Christ took our punishment as a propitiation of our sins. Click To Tweet

This is precisely why the call for justice is hypocritical.  We, very clearly and explicitly, do not receive justice for what we have done.  Christ took our punishment as a propitiation of our sins.  Anytime we call for justice and for a person to experience the full weight of their punishment, we do so knowing that we are not.  The request must come with humility and understanding.  Seek the Lord in understanding and mourn, sincerely mourn for those who must feel the weight of their sin and punishment.

How Should We Respond

So, when we see the events of the world unfolding with terrorist attacks, persecutions, and attacks on our children and families. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36, NIV).  Instead of asking for the death of a person for crimes committed or a person be fired and incapable of ever holding another job, show mercy to that person, just as Christ showed mercy to you.  Our hearts should be willing to show grace to the sinner and the unbeliever pave a path for their redemption and restoration.  It is not our job to seek vengeance for sins and slights, that job belongs to God and God-alone.  Our job is to safeguard our heart against the desires and of the flesh and our desire to see everyone punished by ourselves. Our job is to show the world and the grace and mercy of God and mourn when others live their life without encountering the risen Lord.

We serve a God who through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross satisfied the demands of justice while making a way for the salvation of those who needed it the most. Click To Tweet

The litmus test of what is going on in the heart is to sincerely look at the heart and what is motivating you.  Do you want to see the person punished or do you want to see them restored?  Are you more concerned with taking a life or in protecting other lives?  Were statements made out of anger or out of sadness?  Justice is not bad.  We serve a God who through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross satisfied the demands of justice while making a way for the salvation of those who needed it the most.  We too, can ignore the blood lust of our flesh and pursue the righteousness that comes from God.

 

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