Healing the Land: Forgiveness vs Justice

We serve a God of Justice and Righteousness. In fact these two pillars are the foundation of His throne. When there was famine in the land, David sought the Lord and the Lord spoke that the Gibeonites had been denied justice. (Remember the covenant that Joshua made with the Gibeonites? Saul forgot, but God did not!). David called the Gibeonites and ask what would it take for them to bless the land? My what power they had in their hand! Could they have released forgiveness and then blessed the Land without the blood shed? I don’t know, perhaps. But they chose justice and 7 of Saul’s sons were hanged and the famine was broken. (II Sam. 21:2-9). The injustice of their unjust blood shed by Saul was answered with blood shed. (Remember, innocent blood shed defiles the land.)

But our God is also a God of mercy, grace and forgiveness.  When we are denied justice in our personal lives, we feel betrayed, not only by the people who have withheld the justice, but sometimes by God Himself. In my pain I have cried out, “You, Lord, could have stopped this! Why did you allow this to happen to ME? You, above all know what is right and just!” Ever done that? Question the goodness of God in your life when things go wrong? And what does this have to do with bringing healing to our land?

In times such as this we have a choice. The Lord will surely bring justice. But as we wait for His Hand to move, often times he allows us to walk through injustice for his greater purpose: reconciliation through forgiveness; building His character in you!

Recently BJ and I watched the movie, “Invictus.” I was overwhelmed at the injustice that was done to the black people of South Africa. Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned for 24 years for protesting the Apartheid government of South Africa. Seeing and knowing the history of injustice in South Africa makes the magnitude of President Mandela’s forgiveness so much greater.  As he released grace through forgiveness, not only to his own captors, but also to the entire white race of that nation, he began a movement of national reconciliation that was seen around the world. Instead of civil war, through this one man’s forgiveness of injustice, a nation was preserved from further blood shed. (Now, that is what I call standing in the gap for one nation!) One of the quotes from this movie is: “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear, and that is why it is such a powerful weapon!” I’m reminded once again that our weapons of warfare are not carnal, but are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, strongholds of hatred, violence and, yes, injustice!

I have seen this same spirit in one of my heroes, Dr. John Perkins. Although suffering at the hands of white racist governmental officials of the ’60’s, he has chosen to walk in forgiveness, releasing grace and mercy where ever he goes. Rather than tear down through hate, he has chosen to build up communities with positive works of righteousness. Several years ago I was privileged to speak with him in a causal atmosphere and he was telling me about his project in South Jackson. He called it “The Zechariah Eight Community” where old men sit and tell tales and children play in the streets without fear. (Zechariah 8:4-6). And his invitation to me was, “Come and live with us there!” Although moving to Jackson was not in our plans, my heart wanted to say, “Yes! I’d like that very much!”

Healing the land

“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Prov. 25:28  (The NIV Bible)

As intercessors, our Magnificent God graciously allows us to walk through the same strongholds as our community. As these strongholds are torn down in our personal lives, we can, in turn, walk in the authority needed to pull those same strongholds down in our city! He gives us opportunities to walk through personal crisis or injustice for His purposes. Intercession is not about what we do, but it is about who we are and how we live. As we are called to stand in the gap for our city or state, (Ezekiel 22) we will not have authority over the strongholds that we see manifested there unless we have been personally tested and have walked in victory through some of the same difficult situations. God has a plan to use us on a much grander scale than we can ever imagine! So, come on, intercessors! Walk in freedom! Walk in victory! Walk in forgiveness! Our cities and our nation need you now!

James 1:2-5, 12 (the Message Bible) 

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. 5If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. 6Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought…. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” 

II Corinthians 1:4 (the Message Bible)

“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else (Perhaps a city or nation) who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”