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Getting Past Injustice

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Forgiveness, Justice

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

(1 Peter 2:19-25)

Some years ago, a police chief in a small town tried to frame my husband for a hit-and-run. Someone had damaged his relative’s car, but they didn’t know who. But hey, here was this Asian man passing through; he’s an easy mark, right? Bet he doesn’t even speak English! So they ran his plates, got his ID, and tried to terrify him into confession so his insurance would pay out.

It didn’t work. My husband proved he was miles away at the time of the accident, and the case fell apart. But defending ourselves cost us $6,000 we didn’t have. It also cost us our peace of mind and a long, long time struggling with rage and unforgiveness.

Injustice hurts because it means you’ve been singled out for extra malicious attention. Somebody did you wrong and didn’t care enough to fix it—or even took pleasure in watching your pain. That can mess you up for life, especially when it happens again and again.

So how do we get past it? Humanly speaking, it’s impossible. But Jesus came to do the impossible. And He did it first in His own Person. Jesus died on that cross, the Innocent for the evil, the Just for the unjust-for all of us who sin. Jesus took the malicious evil of His enemies and transformed it into a gift of life and forgiveness for everyone.

And then He rose from the dead, and hundreds of people saw Him and rejoiced. But not Caiaphas. Not Pilate. Jesus spent exactly zero minutes avenging Himself. Have you ever thought about how odd that is?

Maybe not. We are so used to His grace, it doesn’t occur to us to imagine Him taking revenge. But it’s different for us. We know we shouldn’t, but the revenge fantasies keep coming. And we’re tempted to harm people right back. How can Jesus set us free?

Jesus does it for us gladly, through the work of His Holy Spirit. He guards our tongues and our actions when we ask Him to. Jesus Himself lives in us and through us, making the patient, merciful responses we simply can’t do on our own.

And over time—and it may take a very long time!—we begin to let go of the anger. Jesus heals our hearts. And the Spirit transforms us, more and more, into the image of Jesus our Savior. What more could we ask for?

We Pray: Dear Lord, help us to walk in Your footsteps, because we sure can’t do it on our own. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on April 26, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. What is a case of injustice that still rankles in your memory?
2. How do people react when you refrain from taking revenge?
3. Why do you think they react that way?


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