Based solely upon distorted accusations, fraduluent charges, and the testimony of lying witnesses, Jesus was pronounced guilty of crimes He never committed. Betrayed, abandoned, spit upon, mocked, beaten, whipped, and then nailed to a cross, Jesus’s last breath was expelled in the presence of more enemies than friends. Clearly, Jesus suffered great Injustice.
Scripture warns that those who follow Him should expect to suffer as well. The question is: who are we to expect it from? God, the Maker and Creator of the Universe, established the idea of justice; therefore, Injustice does not come from His hand. Rather, Injustice comes from the hands of Unjust Men — those who either do not believe in, or are hostile to, God. Unwilling to submit to His Authority, they walk the path of their own ideals — what is (or isn’t) acceptable — without any sort of checks and balance system to gauge their thoughts or actions. Simply stated, they do what seems right in their own eyes. Instead of caring for others at the expense of self as the Gospel directs, they care for themselves at the expense of others. That sort of Injustice is the rocket fuel of Unjust Men.
Vile things happen, not because God orchestrates it, but because Unjust Men follow their own, deviant will. While we cannot always get the target off our back, there is a Biblical principle to follow when their arrows strike. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good….” Unfortunately, this verse is often rephrased as “all things happen for a reason.” If you’re like me, that’s a hard pill to swallow in the midst of an unforseen and unavoidable disaster that has just descended upon you or your loved ones. While that phrase is okay for the Fluffy things in life, it doesn’t hold up against the Fury that sometimes life unleashes.
The crucifixion was horrible, period. Yet what happened three days later was expectedly beautiful: Jesus rose from the grave. It’s interesting, though, that despite returning from the dead, Jesus remained a Marked Man — the nail Marks in his hands and feet, along with the spear Mark in His side, were still there. But instead of evoking painful memories, those Marks became a source of hope — that the evil plans of Unjust Men will never prevail against the plans and purposes of a Just God.
To bring something good out of what is clearly bad involves a transformation process that requires our participation. We must submit our Unjust Circumstances to God and give Him permission to dig through the Ash Heap in order to find the Gems. Only God, the ultimate Recycler and Restorer, can make something Beautiful out of what is Horrible. That’s the essence of Romans 8:28.
Every Unjust Circumstance we endure leaves us with a Mark — some sort of emotional wound — that needs to be healed. Without healing, these wounds can easily fester, leaving us with a defensive, hard, unforgiving heart. I call that place Victim-Hood — a Place that’s easy to move into but nearly impossible to move out of.
If you have a smoldering emotional wound, allow Him to dig through your Ash Heap and pull out the Gems. The Master stands ready to transform your Marks into a Masterpiece, but He cannot do it if you’ve parked yourself in Victim-Hood. To exit, take the Romans 8:28 Road — it’s the only path that will ever guide you back to the Victorious Life.