You started a new chapter of your life this week by stepping outside of the humble little 1068 square foot house we call home to start preschool. It’s an exciting time of transition in your life, and we couldn’t be more proud of you.
As you are just starting to consciously work on growing up, the world is raging with all manner of problems that leave my mind whirling as I attempt to process the facts and the emotions that have gotten mixed into an explosive cocktail that is shattering hope of immediate improvement.
My sweet boy, the world will never stop being a mess. Someone will always be hurting, misunderstood, ignorant, or unwilling to take the time to differentiate facts from feelings.You can’t control those people. At some point in your life, they will come after you as well, spewing their own hurt onto your life, and as much as I wish I could shield you from it, I realize I’m better off preparing your for it.
You’re getting to a place in life where you’ll begin to notice that life isn’t fair as often as we’d like it to be. Someone will inevitably misunderstand you; you will hurt someone’s feelings or they will hurt yours; you won’t get credit for something you worked hard on; or someone won’t value you in the way that you deserve. And it will hurt when you experience injustice firsthand, no matter if its small or big. So what do you do when someone wants to bring about their own version of justice and it effects you personally?
The main thing is this: Instead of searching for justice, live justly.
Your Papa often reminded me as I worked on growing up like you are beginning to now that God has clearly laid out how He intends for us to live. One of the scriptures that He pointed me to as we worked through the difficult scenarios we face in this world is Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
How does one go about doing justly in a world that’s not fair? What kind of responsibility does that mean we should take upon ourselves?
As much as you or I might wish it means that we take a dramatic stand for justice or exact revenge, this isn’t the case at all. It’s going to be tough, but wait for God to bring about justice. He is the only One capable of doing it properly. (“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6) He’s also set up authorities to take care of the details. Those authorities aren’t perfect, and they won’t always do things right, but it sure takes a lot of pressure off to realize that they are the ones who answer to God for how the conduct the pursuit of justice, and God in turn will ultimately see that justice is served appropriately.
Instead of attempting to rid your world of injustice or paying back those who have wronged you, do exactly what Micah 6:8 says to do. “Do justly.”
This means we need to be “honorable and fair”* in how we act. When we are undermined by someone who does something unethical, we continue to be “consistent with what is morally right.”
It would be much easier to go with what people will tell you to do when your emotions are louder than reality. They will say its okay to fight back in the same manner you’ve been wronged. Instead “uphold what is just” by being an example of doing the right thing and using sound judgment.
I guarantee that you won’t become popular by taking this stand, but popularity isn’t a requirement for being a man of character. Doing to others what you would want them to do to you, on the other hand, is a great way to be an example those who want to stand with you for what is right in the eyes of the God who lovingly created you to honor Him.
You will wonder at times if it’s worth it to live justly rather than seeking justice. You might someday face a bully who won’t leave you alone, and he has it coming. There could be a classmate who falsely accuses you, or a friend who betrays your trust. Life will likely deal you a difficult season that requires you to act more maturely than your peers tell you is fair. Your dad and I have both been there many times, and if there’s one thing we can tell you with certainty after surviving those unfair and trying times in our lives, it’s that obeying God’s Word is always worth it.
The world’s idea of justice isn’t as sweet as they think it will be. Otherwise, they’d no longer be searching for it.
Peace will come to you personally when you let go of trying to make things right and live right by loving mercy and walking humbly with your God. I’ve prayed since you were tiny that you would live by this verse. I know you’re only human, and that there will be times you won’t get it perfect, but a real man will learn from his mistakes and be stronger for them. I just ask that you be the real man that I know you can be based on the evidence you’ve shown me in your first five years.
Keep fighting for just living in a world that is hungry for justice. Show them that peace is attainable when we live lives that honor God and point others to His Word. Your journey has just begun, but that doesn’t mean I’m praying for you any less as you learn to live out faith in this world one experience at a time.
All my love,
*All parts of the definition of justly in quotation marks came from this source, which gives the Hebrew translation of the words “just” and “justice.”