Love Before Justice

“without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,” -2 Timothy 3:3 (NIV)

It has been argued that revolutionaries are amongst the most loving people in the world. In some cases there does appear to be a hint of truth in that statement. So great is their love for their nation and countrymen that they will risk all that they have in the service of creating a better society for all to live in. However, because a revolutionary’s love is but mere human love, it can easily be hijacked by sin. In their zeal, a revolutionary is quick to find enemies and persecute them with ruthless brutality. Their love does not extend to those they have deemed deserving to be punished for their crimes, whether real or imagined. Thus in the past century so many innocent lives have been snuffed out by these revolutionaries who claim to love by taking justice to a revolting extreme in the name of weeding out so-called “villains”.

Justice is something that is desirable and good. God Himself is a God of justice and desires that His righteousness be upheld. Yet too often we get carried away by the cause of justice and allow ourselves to fall into sin. How often do we look down upon those guilty of heinous crimes with anger or scorn? How often do we relish the thought of them receiving the harshest of sentences? It seems that we quickly forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:22 that, “anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” All of us are deserving of punishment under God’s holy standards. None of us, despite all our efforts to live moral lives can ever match God’s standards and vindicate ourselves before Him. Yet because God is a God of love He wants to redeem us so that we may not face eternal judgement, and instead partake in the joy and hope which comes from being in a relationship with Him. Through Christ’s death the penalty for our sins has been paid in full and by His resurrection we are made new in His sight. What right then do we have to withhold love and forgiveness from others when Christ Himself has forgiven us? When we have allowed His Spirit to take control of our attitudes, His love will overflow from within us, bringing healing and hope to those who desperately need it.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.