What does the Bible say about injustice? This is the question I was asking myself today as I found myself angry and discouraged once again about the evil that permeates our world.
Every day I become aware of more abuses of power and more blatant lies that are being told – lies which benefit the powerful at the expense of human beings who have no value to the powerful other than to be used as their pawns.
When I see this I feel so helpless. I want to scream out to anyone who will listen and warn them of the lies they're being told. I do not want them to be harmed by evil people who pretend they are there to help them.
As I pondered today, “What can I do? What should I do?”, I asked God to bring to mind scripture that would guide me.
The two scripture passages that he brought to my mind when it comes to what the Bible says about injustice were Psalm chapter 2 and Ephesians chapter 6.
Psalm 2 speaks about powerful people who reject God's authority. If they continue on this path, their end is destruction. And yet, God in his mercy continues to be long suffering. Just as in the days of Noah – the people had 120 years to repent until finally God's judgment fell – even now wicked people feel that they can continue to reject God without consequence, but it is only because of his long suffering and kindness that judgment has not already occurred. (2 Peter 3:3-8) The conclusion in Psalm 2 is a warning for the powerful wicked people to submit to God's authority because otherwise they are headed toward destruction, but those who put their trust in God will be blessed.
Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks about the need to put on the armor of God because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the devil and supernatural forces of evil. The conclusion is that God's children need not be discouraged and afraid, but instead should be strong in the Lord, should continue in prayer, and should preach the gospel.
The thread that ties all of this together in my mind is the gospel – the good news that God loves the world, that he is merciful, and that he continues to be patient in giving his enemies a chance to repent.
While it seems that evil is having the upper hand, it is merely because God loves ALL, and his patience is far beyond our human understanding. When we compare ourselves to people who do terrible things, it is easy to feel we deserve God's goodness more than they do. But the truth is that compared to a holy God, even people who might score far higher on the goodness scale than others can still never meet God's standard of perfection. It is when we realize that we did not deserve God's forgiveness ourselves that we can accept God's patience with and desire to forgive even those who are so wicked.
So what do we do while we wait?
We tell others the good news that there is salvation in the name of Jesus. We proclaim the truth that God loves the world and that he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I wish I could fix all the injustice in the world. I wish I could silence lies, stop oppressors, and right all the wrongs. And while I firmly believe in speaking truth boldly and standing up for what is right, the most important aspect of truth that I must shout far and wide, to every creature, is the truth of the gospel. After all, the gospel is the only thing that will bring peace, that will teach people to love one another, and will end oppression and abuse of power.
How do I know this? Consider the following:
When Mary learned that she would be the mother of the Savior, she said, “…his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Luke 1:50-53)
The Christmas song O Holy Night alludes to this idea in its third verse:
Truly he taught us to love one another,
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
And the words from its chorus, “Fall on your knees” and “Christ is the Lord” remind us that one day every knee will bow and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11)
It is so tempting to want to fight injustice in the world with my own strength. I wish I could singlehandedly take out all the bad guys and rescue all their victims. But the truth is that I can't do that. Only Jesus can change hearts – both those of moral people and those who participate in very wicked practices. And God loves each person so much that regardless of how wicked their deeds, he patiently waits for them to repent of their pride and to be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
One day every knee will bow before Him. One day the wicked will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated. Until then, let us tell the good news to everyone that Jesus saves.
The Bible verses I referenced in this article are not in any way an exhaustive exploration of the topic of what the Bible says about injustice. These are just a small sampling because the entire theme of the Bible is the gospel, which overcomes all oppression (remember the song? “In his name all oppression shall cease.”) I hope that when you find yourself discouraged about the injustice and evil in our world that you will look up these scriptures and study them further.