I saw a comment posted today to Christians celebrating Paul Manafort’s indictments.
“I’ll never understand Christians celebrating a person getting indicted. Sure, I’m exceptionally glad to see justice being served–but my beliefs won’t allow me to celebrate the pain of a person I am supposed to love ‘as myself’.” —-Facebook User
I’d like to talk about this from my own point of view. I do not celebrate someone’s downfall. I celebrate the rise of justice and I try not to come from a place of arrogance when I do so. Lord knows I’ve encountered Lady Justice myself a time or two. It is not Manafort and his indictments I’m actually celebrating. There is justice, there is righteousness on the rise. Which is something to celebrate because for too long this administration and all involved have been above the law. Lady Justice’s blindfold seemed to be blind to their injustices imposed on us there for a while. I celebrate her.
Another ideal in this comment needs addressed, as well. “As myself” leaves me wondering about accountability. If I laundered money and conspired against my country I would hope I’d be held accountable. Yes, we are to love mercy. We are called to show grace so that the oppressors can lean into repentance and transform their hearts. This does not mean we should turn a blind eye and keep quiet. Judge them? No. Scream and shout? No. Those things do not work, neither does holding them accountable.
I have selfishly dabbled a little in the celebration of being right, though. I foolishly exclaimed, “I knew it would be him!” I confess and definitely need to check my heart. I honestly do not know had I not seen this comment if I would’ve acknowledged that about myself today.
The Fine Line
There is this fine line we walk in seeking justice and loving mercy. On one hand, we want to see God’s people set free from the boots of oppression. We want to call an evil by its name so that we then can abolish it. On the other hand, we must show grace and mercy to the people wearing the boots. It is not our place to judge, it is our place to show mercy and pray for restorative justice that will help soften their hearts. Step a little over either side of this line and risk dimming your light. If we are quiet towards injustices, we risk being complicit in our silence. If we are too proud, we risk becoming unmerciful or a loud gong. Both sides of this fine line can and will harden our hearts and could even mold us into the very thing we oppose!
So, I guess the major question is, “What is the right thing to do in such a time as this?” We do not have a better answer than Jesus himself. He teaches us of the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, The Tax Collector and The Pharisee, and many more parables of grace and mercy. Jesus did a whole sermon about how we should live and respond. He even did it on a mount. So, I guess this is a WWJD moment. Or maybe a What Would Jesus NOT Do moment.
I just love Jesus. I’m so grateful we have a God that would come down from His throne and say, “Look, children. There is some really messed up stuff going on down here. I already told you once that I wasn’t going to flood your room again, so I’ll just show you The Way this time.” I wonder now if He is saying, “Don’t make me come down there, again!”
So today I will go forward inching my way to Christ-likeness, loving justice and mercy. I hope this has encouraged you to do the same, for Jesus’ sake. Grace and peace.