Have you ever been driving down the freeway and had someone in a sporty little car aggressively zip around you going 30 over the speed limit? It happens to me quite often because I drive fairly slowly. Every time it happens, I wish a cop was waiting along the shoulder to chase them down and give them the ticket they deserve. One time I did see that same sporty car, the one that had blown by me minutes earlier, parked along the shoulder, getting a talking to from the highway patrol. I thought to myself, “Sweet justice!” It felt so good to see someone getting the justice they deserved as long as it wasn’t my name on that ticket!
Lord knows I have driven above the speed limit many times, but those are never the times I am glad to see a police car along the freeway. We as humans like the idea of justice as long as it doesn’t mean we are the ones getting the consequences. We act the same way toward God’s justice all the time. How often have you asked God why He would allow evil in the world? Why does He allow the murderer or the rapist or the terrorist to live? Why doesn’t He just wipe them out and make the world nicer for the rest of us? Where is Your justice God? These thoughts assume that certain sins are more worthy of God’s judgment than others, that there is a sliding scale of sin where gossiping and overeating are on the “acceptable” end and murder and violence are on the “unforgivable” one. We wouldn’t need to read our Bibles very long to debunk this myth.
God hates all sin. All of it. He is holy and can’t condone even the so-called “tiniest” of sins. There is no sin that God will wink at or turn His head from. That is why if we have sinned even once in our lifetime — and we all have — we should fear the judgment of God and see our need for a savior.
It is kind of like my kids. Whenever I hear crying erupt from the other room, I march in there to figure out what went wrong. I take each kid aside (the most guilty-looking first) and ask them what happened. Inevitably they begin their defense with their brother or sisters’ contribution to the problem. “She started it! It was her fault!” I quickly stop them mid-sentence and say, “I am not interested in what they did. What did you do?” Then follows a very embarrassed account of their own infractions and usually a sincere apology. I do this with each kid, and each one of them has to own their contribution to the problem. What could have been an endless finger-pointing blame game turns into a humbling admission of individual sin.
It is so easy to point fingers at all the other people who seem to be more “sinful” than ourselves. Admitting our own sin, however inconsequential it may look in comparison, is much more embarrassing and convicting. But God is not interested in the sin of everyone else. God is interested in my sin, your sin. Instead of acting like the Jews in Malachi’s day and asking, “Where is the God of justice?” as if He is ignorant of the sins of all those awful people everywhere else, we need to be taking a very close look at any sin that may be lurking in our own hearts.
Eventually, God will pull all of us aside, one by one, and make us own up to all the sins in our lives. That murderer will have to answer for his crimes before a holy God, and I don’t envy him. But when it comes to your turn, you won’t be standing next to the “worst sinner,” you will be standing before God Himself with only perfection and sinlessness as your comparison. He won’t accept excuses, and He won’t put up with the blame game. God will ask you, “What did you do?” And you will have to give an account. I don’t know about you, but I want my sin account to be as short as possible. I am going to practice asking myself the same question as often as I notice my finger pointing in the direction of someone else’s sin. Instead of asking why God would allow evil in the world, we should realize that we ARE part of the evil God allows in this world, and should thank Him for His patience and grace as we repent over and over again on this long road of sanctification.