Calling for justice

Apart from praying and proclaiming the Word, is a Christian to remain mute in the face of evil throughout the world? Psalm 139 gives a valuable example. Written in the aftermath of the Exile, there should have been no doubt in the minds of the Judean prisoners that they deserved the judgment that God had enacted upon them through Babylon. However, that did not stop them crying out for justice and judgment against their oppressors. Indeed, they pronounced blessings upon the future force who would devastate Babylon – which turned out to be the Persians. This psalm gives us two great examples. Firstly, while recognising God’s actions in history, Christians can deplore the methods used in war, and they can speak out against them. Whether it is speaking out against Saddam Hussein, or against the military methods used to topple him, Christians have the right to challenge governments on their use of violence. Secondly, Christians can cry out for justice, even though that means that God might answer that cry by raising one violent nation to judge another. If violence were inherently evil, then this would be hypocritical. However, because violence is the exclusive preserve of God, it is not hypocritical to cry out to the one who rules the universe for justice. Thirdly, Christians can see God’s justice in action in world events. Even while opposing the decision to invade Iraq, we can see the fall of Saddam Hussein as part of God’s providential judgment and praise him for it.

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