You Can Deal With Injustice!
WHO has not experienced injustice of some sort during his lifetime? While some injustices may only be perceived or imagined, others are very real.
Whenever we experience injustice, we feel some emotional pain and can experience spiritual harm. We may have a keen desire to rectify the situation. Why? One reason is that our Creator, Jehovah God, “with whom there is no injustice,” embedded in humans a strong sense of justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4; Genesis 1:26) However, we may face situations in which our sense of justice is not satisfied. A wise man once observed: “I myself returned that I might see all the acts of oppression that are being done under the sun, and, look! the tears of those being oppressed, but they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1) How, then, can we deal with injustice?
What Really Is Injustice?
Injustice is the condition or practice of violating standards of fairness. What would be the standard of justice for humans? Clearly, our righteous and unchanging Creator has the right to set the standard for what is just and what is unjust. From his standpoint, walking in “the very statutes of life” involves “not doing injustice.” (Ezekiel 33:15) Thus, when Jehovah created the first man, He instilled in him a conscience—an inner voice that could help him distinguish right from wrong. (Romans 2:14, 15) In addition, Jehovah set out in his Word, the Bible, expressions of what is just or unjust.
What if we feel that an injustice was done to us? We do well to examine the matter objectively to see whether injustice was really done. Take, for example, the situation in which the Hebrew prophet Jonah found himself. Jehovah commissioned him to tell the Ninevites of the disaster looming on the horizon. At first, Jonah took to flight without fulfilling the assignment. Eventually, though, he went to Nineveh and warned the inhabitants of the impending doom. Upon their favorable response, Jehovah chose to preserve the city and save its inhabitants. How did Jonah feel? “To Jonah . . . it was highly displeasing, and he got to be hot with anger.” (Jonah 4:1) He felt that it was a gross injustice on Jehovah’s part.
Obviously, Jehovah, who can read hearts and who “is a lover of righteousness and justice,” was not wrong. (Psalm 33:5) Jonah simply had to learn that the way Jehovah decided was in harmony with perfect justice. When we feel that injustice has been done to us, we might ask ourselves, ‘Could it be that Jehovah would view the matter differently?’
The Bible reports many instances of some who suffered injustice. We can learn much by examining how they faced their difficult problems. Consider Joseph, who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers. In Egypt his master’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and when she was rejected, she lyingly accused him of making immoral advances. As a result, Joseph found himself in prison. Yet, his faith was stronger than the iron fetters that bound him. He did not allow the injustice to diminish his spirituality nor to weaken his trust in Jehovah.—Genesis 37:18-28; 39:4-20; Psalm 105:17-19.
Another man who faced injustice was Naboth. He became the victim of outrageous foul play by Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel. The king craved Naboth’s hereditary plot beside the palace. An Israelite was prohibited from permanently giving up his hereditary possession, so Naboth turned down the king’s offer to buy the land. (Leviticus 25:23) At that, Ahab’s wicked wife set up false witnesses who accused Naboth of blaspheming God and the king. As a result, Naboth and his sons were put to death. Imagine how Naboth must have felt when the people were picking up stones to kill him!—1 Kings 21:1-14; 2 Kings 9:26.
Yet, the foregoing pales into insignificance when compared with the injustices wrought upon Christ Jesus. The death sentence on him involved falsehood and an illegal trial. The Roman governor on the judgment seat lacked the strength to stand up for what he saw was right. (John 18:38-40) Yes, on Christ Jesus, Satan inflicted the greatest injustice ever inflicted on anyone!
Do these instances indicate that Jehovah is indifferent to injustice? No! Jehovah did not view those cases from a mere human point of view. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) Because Joseph was sold into slavery, he was able to save his family. He became the food administrator of Egypt before a great famine that affected his family struck. Think, if Jehovah had not allowed an injustice, Joseph would not have been in prison. It was there that he interpreted the dreams of two inmates, one of whom later told Pharaoh about Joseph, leading to Joseph’s becoming the food administrator.—Genesis 40:1; 41:9-14; 45:4-8.
What about Naboth? Again, try to view the matter as Jehovah did. To Jehovah, who can resurrect the dead, Naboth was as good as alive, even when his corpse was lying on the ground. (1 Kings 21:19; Luke 20:37, 38) Naboth has to wait until the time Jehovah calls him back to life, but the lag is as if momentary, for the dead are conscious of nothing at all. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Besides, Jehovah avenged Naboth by rendering judgment on Ahab and his household.—2 Kings 9:21, 24, 26, 35, 36; 10:1-11; John 5:28, 29.
In the case of Jesus, he died. Yet, God resurrected him and exalted him to a position “far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named.” (Ephesians 1:20, 21) The injustice that Satan wrought on Christ Jesus could not prevent Jehovah from rewarding his Son. Jesus was confident that Jehovah could instantly undo the injustice of the illegal arrest if that was His will. Yet, Christ also knew that Jehovah has a time for fulfilling the Scriptures and for undoing any injustices.
Granted, Satan and his agents inflicted injustice upon righteous ones, but Jehovah eventually settled the account and permanently undid or will undo the injustice. Thus, for an injustice to be rectified, we must wait on God.—Deuteronomy 25:16; Romans 12:17-19.
Why Jehovah May Permit Injustice
Jehovah may even have reasons for not correcting a certain situation. As part of our Christian training, he may permit us to experience injustice. Of course, ‘with evil things God does not try anyone.’ (James 1:13) Still, he may allow a situation to develop without his intervention, and he can sustain those who respond to such training. “After you have suffered a little while,” the Bible assures us, “the God of all undeserved kindness . . . will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong.”—1 Peter 5:10.
Furthermore, Jehovah’s permitting a certain injustice may give offenders time to repent. Only a few weeks after Jesus was executed, some Jews who listened to Peter’s admonition “were stabbed to the heart.” They embraced God’s word heartily and were baptized.—Acts 2:36-42.
Admittedly, not all doers of injustice will repent. Some may even be emboldened to commit acts of gross injustice. Yet, Proverbs 29:1 says: “A man repeatedly reproved but making his neck hard will suddenly be broken, and that without healing.” Indeed, Jehovah will eventually act and wipe out of existence those who persist in inappropriate conduct.—Ecclesiastes 8:11-13.
Whatever time it takes to recover from injustice, we can be sure that Jehovah knows how to help us recover. And he is certain to undo any injustice we may have suffered in this evil system of things. Furthermore, he has promised us the final reward, everlasting life in the new world in which “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
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How must Naboth have felt as he faced serious injustice?