Do we love all of God? I think for most of us the answer is an obvious “yes,” but I have noticed in myself and around campus a tendency to love most of God except for one part: his judgment.
We love the storybook version of Noah and the Ark, where God tells Noah to build the ark, Noah does it, the animals fill it and God saves his beloved creatures from the Flood. But we certainly don’t love thinking about how the Flood killed every other living thing.
Avoid talking about Sodom and Gomorrah, and do not dare read the prophets except for the verses which talk about Jesus. Shut your eyes and plug your ears when the pastor speaks about Revelation.
How, though, do we legitimately justify ignoring or even loathing a Scripturally-attested characteristic of God?
We cannot justify it, but it has crept in slowly and insidiously as a result of our own modern privileges. Many of us are simply less familiar with the presence of injustice in the world than possibly any generation before ours and fail to see God’s judgment as a response to injustice.
Our bubbles of privilege shelter us from the outside world and keep those who have them from developing a passion for justice. It is much less natural to care about others’ suffering than your own.
But time and time again the Bible shows that our God is someone who responds to injustice. God’s judgment is not a random outburst of anger, but a provision of justice intended to right the wrongs of the world.
For those of us who haven’t experienced serious injustice personally (talking to myself here), let us not be content with a head-knowledge that all is not right which leaves us a little bummed but failing to take action. Instead, let us sit and mourn with those who mourn. Let us look around ourselves and weep at the number of people who have been hurt by the brokenness of the world.
Let those who grieve cry out to God. God heard the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20). He hears the cry of the widow and the orphan (Exodus 22:22-23). He hears the cry of the martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11). He will hear yours.
It is easy for us to recognize the need for justice in the Bible. But the world hasn’t changed. The suffering just isn’t as immediate for many us. Christians are still martyred, people are still enslaved, women are still abused and groups of people are still oppressed. How can we not desire to see these injustices righted by God?
Injustice is still occurring, some of us just fail to see it. To reject God’s judgment is to reject his justice and to desire for others to continue suffering, so you can maintain your preferred understanding of God.