The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve (Psalm 103:8-10).
Motivational speaker David G. Johnson notes that if you want to find your calling, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions:
1) What would I do even if I didn’t get paid or receive applause?
2) What problem do I feel compelled to solve for people?
3) What makes you mad?
I pondered that last question in the last 24 hours or so, when I wasn’t sleeping that is. I think I figured it out.
What makes me mad is injustice. I see a lot of it around these days.
When I probe deeper into my heart, though, I find an annoying truth. What makes me mad is when I or one of my loved ones get treated unjustly.
Do I get angry when I hear or read about somebody else receiving unfair treatment? The honest answer is probably,”Sometimes I guess. But not as much as when the experience involves me.”
Rage at my own unfair treatment has gotten me into trouble in the past. I’m not so sure trying to bail myself out of unjust situations is exactly what God had in mine when He gave me a “calling”.
Johnson does say that whatever our calling is, it involves serving people. So if I can figure out where I get really teed off when other folks are handled poorly, I may go a long way in discovering where to invest the rest of my life vocationally.
Injustice is nothing new, of course. If you read the media you would think it is, though.
The news is full of one injustice after another. Here’s a sample of today’s headlines:
“Blind Chinese activist says he’s been abandoned by American officials…”
“12 teenagers haul teenagers off of train by hair, steal cell phone”
“Computer glitch summons 1,200 residents to jury duty, causes traffic jam”.
It’s a fallen world, especially in politics.
If the current POTUS is not of your party, you have your eye on him. You are just waiting for him to assume dictatorial powers and institute a police state.
Interestingly enough, some folks in my birth state of Maryland felt that way about Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. As a border state, Maryland was subject to a lot of intense scrutiny from the US government and the military.
According to Charles W. Mitchell, who edited a book called “Maryland Voices of the Civil War”, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus for Marylanders in some cases.
The writ of habeas corpus is the longstanding right in the English legal system, passed down to Americans, in which an accused person is required to be brought before a judge by the arresting party. The latter must show cause before the court as to why the person has been arrested.
The writ of habeas corpus is a foundation of the American legal system. It prevents unlawful detention of our citizens.
From Mitchell’s account, a lot of people in Maryland were held without charge, at least at the beginning of the Civil War. Mitchell produces one written account by one such man, Augustus R. Sollers. He begins:
“My arrest was a simple outrage only to be excused upon the ground of over zeal in th officer who ordered it”. Sollers goes on to describe the charges against him as “fabrications” and defends himself.
Furthermore, he goes into detail as to how he has suffered at the hands of the military when they tried to arrest him previously:
“I was driven from my home, family and business and lived in the woods for weeks. They visited my house the night of their arrival and searched for me; they placed a guard of 150 men around it.; they killed my hogs, sheep, poultry, and wantonly shot the best horse on the farm, for all I was never offered a cent nor have I received a cent.”
In his letter, Sollers insists he is a loyal citizen of the United States, but decries how much is fealty has gotten him:
“For all this I have incurred the displeasure of some of my best friends and looked upon with suspicion and distrust by many others. But for my loyalty I have received nothing but persecution. I have been driven from home, my property destroyed, ny family harassed and insulted, and finally arrested.”
Imagine the cable news networks of our time. They’d have a field day with Sollers’ story.
If you are a dedicated Christian, you know full well how Jesus Christ suffered far worse treatment at the hands of the authorities of his time. Yet, he voluntarily submitted Himself to it.
The Scriptures say of Jesus:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross! (Phillippians 2:5-8)
Indeed, on that cross, as he was being crucified with others who DID deserve the punishment, Jesus asked God for leniency concerning those responsible. Luke recorded his words:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34a)
Pastor Erwin Lutzer tells of a discussion he had with another minister about David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam. Those of us around in the 1970s remember the hot summer he went around shooting numerous people to death in New York City.
This pastor told Lutzer that Berkowitz is a saved man today, deeply regretting his actions, not asking for any parole, and leading Bible studies in prison. He is transformed according to this pastor.
However, when the pastor tried to get a Christian publisher to consider putting out Berkowitz’s story, he received resistance. The publisher said,
“Yeah, but do you know for sure he’s saved. You get weary of all these people being converted in prison. Prison’s a nice place to get converted, right?”
The pastor countered with this:
“I know Son of Sam–I know that he’s saved. But I am worried about you.”
I wonder what the loved ones of Son of Sam would think about this discussion. I would surmise many of them would be as skeptical as this Christian publisher and still demand every ounce in payment for the injustice done.
The work of Jesus, who was “pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins” and “beaten” and “whipped” so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5), shows God’s attitude toward injustice. He took it upon Himself so that He could be merciful to those who were responsible for it.
So sure, I ought to be upset when there’s injustice and do what I can, at least for others, when it is perpetrated. God hates injustice so much His Son died for it.
Yet, if I am to be like Him I need to slow down and be patient with some people. I might even attempt to show them the error of their ways in a kind and gentle way.