The Injustice of Human Justice
Four years ago, many people in America (and some around the world) experienced a crisis when President Trump was elected. Currently, there are many on the other side of the political spectrum experiencing a crisis as Biden and the Democrats have been declared winners of the most recent elections.
Over the past four years, we have heard cries from the political left for justice, and over the past six weeks, we have heard cries from the political right for justice.
Both groups have felt injustice has occurred and that there was no avenue to remedy their experience of injustice.
When you believe that you have been treated unfairly, when you are convinced an injustice has occurred to you or someone you love – wrongly convicted of a crime, punished for something you did not do, defrauded of your property – and no court will give you a hearing, and there is no avenue to set things right, how do you react? What is your experience?
Do such events stir up more “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”? (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV84). Or do you experience frustration, outrage, and anger? Do you get tempted to take matters into your own hands? Do you have fantasies of smacking the wrongdoers down? Have we seen the frustration lead to protests from both sides of the political isle? Have we even seen violence?
Understand clearly why this is happening: The kingdoms of this world are Satan’s domain – all of them! When Satan took Jesus to the mountain and tempted Him, the evil one didn’t offer Jesus 80 percent of the kingdoms of the world. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world, claiming them as his. Jesus confirmed that the kingdoms of this world are not His when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36 NIV84).
The kingdoms of this world are based upon imposed laws, arbitrary rules, and legislated statutes. And laws of this type are open to manipulation and abuse. God is Creator, and His laws are the laws that reality is built upon – gravity, the laws of physics and health, and the moral laws. These design laws of God are constants; they cannot be manipulated, changed, exploited, bent, or applied inconsistently.
If we place our faith in human governments, human courts, and human legal justice, we are being deceived because there is no justice in the kingdoms of Satan. The outcome of human governments, human laws, human justice is always – in every government in the history of the entire world – injustice, abuse, exploitation, and unfairness. Human laws and their application will favor some and injure others, even when they are applied “perfectly,” which, of course, they never are.
In every human government, those in power – with friends in the right places, with money or political connections – are held to a different standard than those without those same advantages. Human laws always result in injustice to some!
The very best human governments can only create the illusion of justice, but they are still unjust – all of them. It is true, that to the degree that the people in offices of responsibility, the legislators, judges, administrators, and staffers, are more godly, more kind, loving, compassionate, truthful, and honest, then their actions will mitigate the injustice of arbitrary laws. In other words, the injustice, harm, wrong, unfairness of Satan’s imposed-law system (the kingdoms of this world) will be diminished by the righteous actions of the godly people holding the various levers of governmental power. But injustice will still occur because the system itself is arbitrary, not everyone is righteous, human biases abound, ignorance and limited knowledge exist, and the outright selfish manipulate the system.
And when the people in a society become more godless, the governments they administer become even more unjust. As societies moves away from a belief in God, the governments of those societies become more abusive, exploitive, controlling, unfair, and cruel. This movement away from God can occur through false god-views, in which people claim a belief in God but don’t actually know Him, such as the corruptions and injustices seen in the Dark Ages or when God is denied altogether, such as in all communist countries.
When one’s faith is in the law, in the government, believing the system will be fair, and then it isn’t, and there is no avenue to find justice, what is the reaction? Outrage, hurt, anger, disillusionment, disappointment, discouragement, and often violence. We see a wrong and long to make it right. But we accept Satan’s false system of imposed law and rule-enforcement, of punishment for disobedience, and we seek the justice of punishing the guilty. If the system itself won’t punish the guilty, then we must do it ourselves. This dynamic is depicted in the many vigilante movies that are so popular: an innocent suffers, the justice system is corrupt, and the guilty goes free. We are outraged, and we long for a hero to come in and do whatever it takes to make it right. And right in Satan’s kingdom is punishing the wrongdoer. And sure enough, our vigilante avenger appears and hunts down the guilty to make them pay. This is the justice of imposed law, of Satan’s domain. Is this what your heart longs for when you see injustice?
The action of inflicting punishment is not in keeping with God’s kingdom of love and is not godly justice. God’s justice is based on design law. Breaking design law damages the violator and results in ruin – and eventually death unless the injury is healed. Godly justice is about removing the sin, eradicating the selfishness, freeing the heart from fear, and restoring in the sinner God’s love and truth. God’s justice takes enemies and makes them into friends! God’s justice saves, healing hearts by writing God’s law into the heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10). This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said that “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 NIV84).
The only place on this sinful Earth that we find the kingdom of God is in the hearts of people who have surrendered to God! And according to Jesus, His kingdom functions exactly the opposite of Satan’s. God’s kingdom reacts differently to injustice than the kingdoms of this world:
You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:38-48 NIV84).
Satan hates the kingdom of God and wants to infect your heart and mine with his corrupt methods; how? By inciting real injustice to trigger outrage in us, but then tricking us by having us see what is happening through the justice system of this world. Satan wants us to believe the lie that the laws and methods of the kingdoms of this world are just, that we can establish justice if we just get the right laws passed and the right law enforcement practiced. See the trap – by choosing Satan’s methods to pursue justice, you corrupt your own heart and mind and write Satan’s law into your character. It is only through surrender to Jesus and experiencing His love and applying His methods (design laws) to our lives that we can escape the trap of the devil.
But as more human hearts turn away from God and harden against Him, the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, hearts harden, selfishness and fear increase, and love in society grows cold. More injustice occurs as the governments are run by more people with corrupt hearts. Yet, the people turn to their human systems to fix the problem, which results in more laws, more rules, more control, more punishment, more fines. But it only gets worse because all human governments are Satan’s domain and they only bring injustice.
As the godless philosophies – such as evolutionism, secularism, humanism, communism – become more prominent, society and governments become more corrupt and injustice increases.
We are in a spiritual war, a war over the knowledge of God! And each one of us has a decision to make: When we see injustice, will we turn to the systems, kingdoms ,and powers of this world to make things right, to establish and promote justice, or will we turn to God, embracing and practicing His methods?
The Bible tells us that people at the end of time, including many who claim to be Christian, will turn to human systems for justice, ultimately forming a beastly coalition to promote what they believe to be right. They will work to save themselves, their countries, businesses, the earth itself but what method will they use? Imposed laws with ever-increasing coercion.
God is permitting events to transpire as they are to help us realize there is no justice in human governments. God’s kingdom is not of this world. We must break our hearts away from loyalty to these human systems. We must give our hearts and our affections to God and be loyal to Him, and then we will see every human being as His child. We will love every person as our brothers and sisters, whether they are Democrat or Republican, white or black, rich or poor, Christian or agnostic. We will see people as God’s children, either living in harmony with God and getting healthier, or out of harmony and getting sicker. But when we see some getting spiritually sicker, manifesting selfish, exploitive, spiteful, violent behavior, we will love them and grieve what we see them doing to themselves and others, but we will not embrace the methods of this world, the methods of Satan’s kingdom, and use force to make them comply with what we think is right.
I encourage you to reject the lie of penal/legal justice and embrace the only true justice, the righteousness of truth, love, and freedom, the rightness and justice of God’s character of love and His design laws for life.
Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, international speaker, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association. He is President and Founder of Come and Reason Ministries and has served as President of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.