The brutal, unbearable details ignited the ruthless investigation. The young victim had made an outcry (the victim’s voice telling what has happened which must be reported by one who hears); his story was dreadfully horrifying. The family acted immediately, believing the justice system would be exceptionally cautious, especially because the victim was a disabled, intellectually challenged 12-year-old boy. As the investigation proceeded, attorneys, specialists, therapists, medical examiners, and the boy’s school were consulted. And the family’s unspeakable grief was palpable.
There were two full days in court, with testimonies, reports, heckling, and unfounded statements made under oath; the encounter was nothing like the family expected. The judge was confounded and stated that the final judgment would be sent through the attorneys. His gavel knocked on his solid oak desk and everyone was dismissed. A few days later, the decision came: no charges would be filed. The abusers disappeared. And the victim lives with physical pain and emotional anxiety to this day.
Where was the justice in it all? The family still wrestles with grief because there was no closure to their pain. Really, what is “just” or “unjust”? How could the “keepers of the law” honestly believe this was a just and right decision? After all, let’s remember the words from the Pledge of Allegiance:
“. . . and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Scripture references “justice” many times. I have in mind one specific outcry for justice from the book of Psalms. The writer of Psalm 13, David, ran for his life for more than ten years. David hid from King Saul in caves, desert lands, rocks, and crevices. David was powerless to stop the mad man, Saul, from his unassailable quest to kill. And God allowed this mad pursuit to occur! In the midst of one of his many trials, David wrote these penetrating words:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
LOOK on me and ANSWER, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
(Psalm 13:1–4 NIV, emphasis added)
A deep longing for fairness and justice rests in the heart of every human being. Though we are created in God’s image, we live in a sinful world where injustice and unfairness often have their way. So how do we endure through the fiery ordeals when injustice prevails? Remember King David who wrote Psalm 13 above? He also offered these words in Psalm 139:23–24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)
And now, Lord, may we remember Your promises: You are just, You will always be just, and Your timing for Your judgments belong in Your sovereign hands. Search our hearts today.