The World Today is Becoming More Divisive and Destructive
It should be apparent to anyone reading the news that the world is becoming more divisive. Some might argue the earth has always experienced conflict. This is probably true, but it only proves that humanity continues to go through self-destructive behavior cycles that have ultimately led to major national and international conflicts. The question is, are we in that same place today? A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals the political polarization in the United States has reached a dangerous extreme.[i]
One hundred fifty years earlier, during the 1850s, America had become deeply polarized over geopolitical territories. The south was pro-slavery, while the north was mainly abolitionists. However, the division was much more profound as there was plenty of racism and segregation in the north. The nation was also divided over political ideologies. The northern Republican party favored a more powerful Union that could wield even greater power at the federal level. In contrast, the predominately southern Democratic party emphasized the rights of individual states to self-govern and create and enforce their laws.
How does God want us to deal with injustice in this world?
Sadly, the American Civil War, in the end, was not fought around biblical or constitutional principles of emancipation. It was also fought over economic and political power centers, those who would control the destiny of this young nation. The Civil War broke out in 1861 when the Confederate States of America (eleven southern states) seceded from the Union following the election of President Abraham Lincoln a year earlier. The vote was labeled an act of war by some southern politicians who believed the newly elected president would send Union troops into the south to retain military control over the Union.[ii]
The end of the Civil War brought about numerous Civil Rights bills from 1866 to 1875, eventually paving the way for the historic landmark bill of 1964 and the provisions to the Post Civil War Federal Rights Acts in 1983.[iii] Some might argue that slavery had not only ended in America, but the injustice brought about by enslaving twelve million Africans had been appropriately mitigated. Not so.
The end of slavery only perpetuated the extreme level of poverty already inflicted upon our African American brothers and sisters, and the passing of these laws did not resolve the racial division in this nation between blacks and whites. Justice may have been served, but the reconciliation did not happen.
You might be wondering if I am trying to give us a history lesson on the Civil War. Not at all. I am trying to illustrate that the Civil War and the polarization that preceded it represent man’s way of dealing with division. The outcome of this division left a trail of death and destruction that nearly destroyed this country. Now, I am not suggesting that conflict and even war are not necessary to resolve tyranny. However, as Christians, we need to be asking this question: How does God want us to deal with injustice in this world?
All division exists because humanity has allowed sin to separate us from God.
We need to understand that injustice is rooted in division, and all division exists because humanity has allowed sin to separate us from God.
Our separation has given root for division to sprout and flourish within God’s creation. God is indivisible, and mankind, created in the image of God, was intended to walk in the Garden of Eden in perfect union with Him, with no division at all. Adam also walked in perfect harmony with Eve and co-existed in perfect harmony with the animals and the whole of creation until their fall.
Once again, the root of division, including racial division, and the origin of its resulting injustice, is attributed to man’s sinful nature. We now live in a fallen world where God is concealed and separated from humanity. The result of this spiritual condition will always lead to further division, hostility, and inevitable conflict. So, here is another question: Can a man-made solution resolve a spiritual problem? Absolutely not.
To confirm this point. God chose the nation of Israel and brought the Jewish people out of slavery from Egypt. There, in the Sinai wilderness, God gave us His perfect law. If the Law of Moses could have created an ideal society where all twelve tribes lived in blissful harmony, the New Covenant and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross would not have been necessary. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV).[iv] The Law of Moses could not fix the heart of man. Through the indwelling presence and transforming power of His Holy Spirit, only the Lord can redeem our souls.
We will now explore several biblical passages that shed light on God’s viewpoint about justice:
- “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” (Psalm 89:14).
This verse reveals God’s standard of justice and righteousness, which are mercy and truth.
- “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15).
This verse delegates God’s standard of justice and righteousness for mankind to uphold.
Like Christ, we must also be full of compassion, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in mercy and truth.[v]
From these two passages, we can conclude that God’s justice and righteousness work together as an indivisible unit that establishes a foundation for His Kingdom.
Conversely, injustice would be defined as treating or judging someone unrighteously. And because man is sinful by nature, we are also unjust and unrighteous by nature. Therefore, how can a wicked person create or establish a moral and just foundation for the Kingdom of God? We cannot. All forms of division and injustice, including slavery, racial segregation, socioeconomic division, anti-Semitism, and misogyny, are caused by man’s sinful nature.
When Christ died on the cross for our sins, He not only justified us before God, He also imputed His righteousness to us.[vi] In Christ, we are now seen by God as both “just” and “righteous;” however, He does so only because God is “just” and “righteous,” and Christ now dwells within us. Therefore, we, the church, should have no excuse for allowing division within God’s household. This division has brought about injustice to God’s people. As Christ is unified and indivisible with His Heavenly Father, the church must be the same.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23).
So, here is the answer to the question we asked at the beginning: How does God want us to deal with injustice in this world? He wants us to reconcile it through the cross. The Apostle Paul said, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Through Christ’s Eyes, the Believer Understands the Root of Injustice is Man’s Sinful Nature
When we view injustice through the eyes of Yeshua, we understand the root of injustice is attributed to man’s sinful nature. And the solution to injustice is not more laws or more incarceration for breaking those laws. The answer to man’s sinful nature is Christ’s propitiation on the cross and the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit to redeem and transform our wicked souls.
If God was reconciling the world to Himself by forgiving our trespasses (meaning He was removing the division between God and man for forgiving our sin), then we should also reconcile the world to God by forgiving those who have trespassed against us? After all, we are told that God has committed to the church the word of reconciliation. It is now our ministry. Forgiveness does not condone injustice. On the contrary, our forgiveness reconciles unjust men to be reconciled to a just God who died on the cross for their transgressions. Reconciliation is God’s spiritual solution to a man-made problem.
When we forgive, we also open the door for repentance. Notice the order of God’s reconciliation with mankind. It is written, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God did not wait for mankind to repent first so that we might be reconciled to Himself. Christ died for us while we were still sinful and unrepentant, and He forgave our sins so that we might repent and be reconciled back to God. It is written, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Therefore, we must not wait for mankind to repent for us to administer God’s word of reconciliation. We are also obligated to forgive first, with the anticipated hope that our fellow man will, in turn, repent and be reconciled back to God and then to man.
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). And if we do not forgive, we have been warned. So, it is written, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses (Matthew 18:33-35).
Reconciliation is an Act of Forgiveness that Leads to Repentance
In summary, reconciliation is the act of forgiveness that leads to repentance. And ultimately, it leads to the removal of our sinful nature that has caused division and injustice within God’s creation. Reconciliation is a process that takes time. We must forgive one person at a time, allowing that person to receive forgiveness and become healed by the Holy Spirit of any offense we have carried in our hearts.
Let me close by sharing with you a personal journey of forgiveness. Being that I am Jewish, I am sure you can appreciate the hatred I have felt towards the Nazis because of the Holocaust. There would be no rational justification to forgive them for committing such atrocities against God’s chosen people.
In April 2006, the Lord gave me a dream about forgiveness. In the dream, my wife and I were walking towards a small group of people. I looked at a short, stocky German woman and asked her where I could find a Jew. She rolled up her sleeve and pointed to a swastika on her arm, saying, “I am a Nazi.” Rather than getting angry, I felt compassion and sympathy for the woman. I leaned over and kissed her twice on the forehead, saying, “I forgive you.”
This dream, I believe, demonstrates the Lord’s desire for reconciliation, even amongst the most hateful enemies.
Therefore, I pray that we, the church, come together with indivisible unity that demonstrates God’s mercy by forgiving all who have trespassed against us.
And in this demonstration of Divine unity, that we might lead men to repentance and into the Kingdom of God. Therefore, let us shine with the righteousness of Christ before God, walking in His love and obedience to His commandments, and most significantly, the commandment to be ministers of His reconciliation.[vii]
SOURCE: HOUSE OF DAVID MINISTRIES
[i] Strauss, Mark. It’s Been 150 Years Since the U.S. was This Politically Polarized. June 2014.
[ii] Confederate States of America. History.com.
[iii] Post Civil War Federal Civil Rights Acts, Civil Provisions. USLegal.com.
[iv] All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Bible (NKJV) unless otherwise noted, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982.
[v] Psalm 85:10.
[vi] Romans 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21.
[vii] Luke 1:6.