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When God Does Nothing About Injustice

“If God is so good and loving, why does He allow pain and suffering?”

This one question is probably the biggest obstacle to faith in Christ for most people. There are good answers, but since we are very limited in our perspective, many people continue to stumble over the problem of evil.

Because we are made in the image of a just God, our souls long for justice in the wake of injustice. We want someone to pay for hurting us or hurting others. We want to exact our pound of flesh. We wonder why God doesn’t do something about bad people doing bad things, especially when it invades our personal space.

For years, when addressing this issue, my husband has cautioned his listeners that immediate justice may sound good when we think about dishing it out, but we wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of it.

Recently we had the privilege of teaching at a couple of church leadership conferences in Burundi, Africa. Ray asked his audience to consider what it would be like if God zapped us with an electric shock every time we thought or said or did a bad, or even uncharitable, thing. He said, “You’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘I wish that speaker would just be quiet and sit down. It’s been a long day and I’m tired of listening.’ But that’s not very nice, and let’s say you got buzzed with a shock for your thoughts.”

Then he got off the platform and stood before one of the men. “I don’t like your shirt. I don’t like your jacket. I don’t like your FACE!” And then he pretended to get a gigantic electric shock, flailing his arms and head, and fell down on the floor. The men roared with laughter. Ray stood up and said, “Now aren’t you glad God is patient? We need to be careful, thinking that justice in the moment would be a good thing. None of us would survive!”

Lots of smiles and nodding heads. They got it.

But we also experienced a terrifying example of why immediate justice would not be good.

On our two-hour drive from the capital city to the city where the conference was held, it had grown dark. Ray was in a taxi carrying him and one of the interpreters, along with some of our luggage. As our convoy made its way through one of the villages where a lot of people were gathered along the road, a man that the driver thinks was drunk ran out in front of the speeding car, and the driver hit him. He was thrown onto the hood of the car and smashed into the windshield. As the driver slammed on the brakes, the injured man fell off the car and lay motionless on the pavement.

Horrified, Ray could say or do nothing as the driver backed up and then drove around the man, leaving the scene—and a man who was either seriously injured or dead. The onlookers swarmed the taxi, and that of the car behind them, also containing our people, and started banging on the doors and windows. To the amazement of us Americans, all the drivers just kept on going, leaving the crumpled man and the angry crowd behind.

When we got to our destination, the horror was explained to us. If the taxi driver had gotten out of his car to check on the man he’d hit, the crowd would have killed him on the spot, and possibly Ray and our interpreter as well. In that culture they practice immediate justice—“mob justice,” it was called. Our Burundi host said that in that culture, the drivers did the right thing to protect the visitors by not stopping and not opening the door to check on the man.

This experience was deeply disturbing to my husband (who was thankful that I was in another taxi ahead of him and didn’t see anything). We prayed together about the awful images burned into his memory and asked the Lord for peace.

And we can both appreciate, at a whole new level, why God’s patience in not dealing with evil and pain when it occurs is a measure of His grace and mercy. He will bring resolution one day, and we can rest in that. That He is patient beyond our understanding is a good, good thing.

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Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

5 Comments

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    Emma Roberts

    Yes. You would say that it is

    Yes. You would say that it is justice that your husband lives while a widow and her five children will never get to see their father again. "Mob justice". I come from Africa and in my country, the mob as you call them, would have helped the driver get that man in the car for him to be taken to a hospital. But then you will never know now whether he was still alive or not, will you? Very typical of you people to call cowardice great luck. God is evil, and that is why evildoers prosper in this world while innocent and good hearted people suffer.

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      Sue Bohlin

      Mob justice

      Oh Emma, I'm so sorry I didn't communicate well enough that you came to this conclusion. We were–and are–horrified that this accident happened. We asked the cab company to check on the man that was hit, we prayed for him and his family, and it deeply troubled us. It still does. We were powerless in that situation. There was no luck involved–just horribleness. It was not justice that a man died or was injured while my husband lived, it was a travesty. The concept of "mob justice" is not true justice at all, and I was certainly not supporting it. I believe mob justice is a broken reflection of God's heart of true justice, and it grieves Him when people trust in their own ways instead of His.

      Thank you for writing.

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    Emma Roberts

    Thank you for your reply. At

    Thank you for your reply. At least you didn't delete or ignore my comment. Courtesy is a very rare currency nowadays. It is God's own fault that people turn away from him. Unanswered prayers are like a dagger through the heart, especially in extreme cases of injustice. This is why when people have the opportunity to do so, they settle accounts rather than wait for a God that is too slow to act or forgive one's enemies on one's behalf without one's permission.

    Again thanks.

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    Sue Bohlin

    God’s fault?

    You are most welcome.

    I think God does understand why people turn away from Him when He doesn't act on our timetable or in ways we understand with our puny little human minds. But I do think it's unfortunate when people take matters into their own hands because we can never know the outcome or consequences in ways that God does. And it is these things we cannot see, but which He can, that is why God's timetable is so different from ours.

    Bless you.

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    Elian Grey

    Waiting how long?

    I am a big believer in "mob justice" and general hostility towards the evil masses. The law is an absolute joke in the USA so I can hardly imagine how useless it is in third world countries. 

    If I see someone harming an innocent, I will likely torture and execute that individual on the spot. Calls to the police will be after I'm finished dealing with the subhuman. If I hear about a criminal entering my neighborhood on parole, it may likely lead to the same end. 

    Not sure what God is doing but he is so inactive that I can't help but consider him to be irrelevant and lazy. There is an unlimited supply of worthless worthless human trash in this world. They are everywhere! Even the people next door to me regard their own children to be expendable personal property and these are "upright" citizens!

    I'm probably going to Hell because of doing this and thinking this but what choice do I have? How can I justify sitting around praying and waiting on God's 'patience'? I cannot justify doing nothing and certainly can't trust others to do the "civilized" thing! 

    I cannot help but believe that the enemy must be hunted down and snuffed out at every opportunity!

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