All of us have known church/ministry leaders, either personally or on the national/international scene, who have inflicted great harm on God’s people – perhaps through their own moral failure, through spiritual manipulation, harsh legalism or a number of other ways. A video I was sent recently reminded me of how wide spread this is and as I thought about it a picture came to mind.
Among a group of young children a few of the bigger ones were wielding knives. The bigger ones were recklessly swinging their knives slashing and hurting those around them. These were God’s kids being hurt and doing the hurting. I thought, “Lord, you seem to be a pretty bad Father.”
I would be a horrid father if I allowed my kids to slash and hurt one another like God permits His kids to do. I have a responsibility to restrain my children, to keep them from hurting others. But God does not do that. He allows “the big ones” to abuse, manipulate and repeatedly inflict injury leaving a path of hurt people strewn in their wake. “Why do you do that Lord? Even our wicked society restrains those who would hurt others – and your law commands government to do so. But you don’t within your own family.”
I can’t say, “I heard from God” but I think I have at least part of His mind on the matter and there are a several reasons.
- Where would we have Him draw the line? All of us have hurt others at one time or another. I know I certainly have and often it has been quite unintentionally – a careless action, a thoughtless comment, a necessary but unpleasant decision I had to make as a leader. If God restrained all who were going to hurt someone I am afraid we would all be banished to our rooms until the end of time.
- Hurts provide us an opportunity to demonstrate the character of Christ. If I have never been offended how can I, like Jesus, bless those who hurt me, pray for those that despitefully use me?
- And here we start getting a little heavy theologically – In this life, each man must be allowed to “fill up his cup of iniquity”. Rewards in eternity are based upon what we do in this life. Yes, Scripture is clear there are degrees of rewards in heaven and even degrees of punishment in hell. God is not going to reward or punish based upon what we would have done or could have done. It is our actual actions here that determine what our existence there will be like. So, eternal justice demands that man be free here to sow seeds of righteousness or wickedness to reap his harvest in life eternal.
- And here is the best part – The reason God can allow evil to run rampant but commands society to restrain evil is because He has the ability to heal every hurt, restore every broken heart, make all things right in the end. If you have been abused by one of God’s kids take heart (Also take a number and get in line. Anybody who has been in the church any length of time has experienced a similar injustice and many are suffering under it now).
Be encouraged, God is a good father but divine justice must permit great injustice during this time.But He is the healer of broken hearts. He is the restorer of what has been consumed by injustice. He provides you an opportunity to follow in His own footsteps of lavishing love and forgiveness on the undeserving. God can, and indeed must, allow injustice to triumph now so complete justice can be carried out in eternity.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
2 Peter 3:13
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.