When You Get The Raw End Of The Deal

You’ve been mistreated. Gotten the raw end of the deal. Unjustly overlooked in a promotion. Spent many hours trying to help someone only to be rejected.

Injustice. The world is full of it. Sooner or later, everyone is treated unjustly, in big or small ways. When I was in 8th grade I was supposed to receive the school’s “Outstanding Student Award” based on my grade point average, but because another student’s mother was a teacher in the school, they gave the award to him. I was stunned, shocked, devastated at the time. I’d never been treated unjustly before. I couldn’t believe people could act that way. Welcome to the real world, kid.

I’ve never experienced the horrible injustice some do on a daily basis, like Christians in North Korean prison camps or victims of ISIS. But like everyone else, I’ve been wronged at times. For trying to be kind, I’ve gotten scorn. A few times, after spending hours and hours trying to help someone, I’ve been blamed for their troubles. I’m not complaining and don’t feel like I’m a victim. I know many who have tried to help and bless others far more than I have, only to be despised and blasted on Facebook or worse.

When someone sins against us we can want to take things into our own hands. Pay them back. That’s when we need to remember the God of justice.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. IS 30.18

“When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right, what should be done, and that He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice.” The word just and the word righteous are identical in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s actions are always right and fair.” Bob Deffinbaugh

Abraham understood that God is just and righteous when he appealed to God to hold off judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah:

So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” GE 18.22-25

God’s justice and righteousness means he always does the right thing.

He always does the right thing in our lives. He is never unfair with us. We should never say, “I don’t deserve this,” “I shouldn’t have to go through this,” or “Why is God doing this to me?” Men may be unjust and treat us unfairly but God never will. Even when men treat us unjustly we can know that someday the judge of all the earth will make things right.

Because God is just we should never take revenge, but leave that to him.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” RO 12.9

We must leave vengeance to God because only he knows the motives of men’s hearts. Only he knows the exact punishment every sin deserves. Only he knows every detail of someone’s actions – their background, their understanding of what they are doing, etc.

Rather than seeking to execute justice ourselves, we need to trust God, even as Jesus did.

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 PE 2.23

Jesus was the ultimate case of being treated unjustly. He had done nothing wrong, yet men scourged him, pounded a crown of thorns into his head, and nailed him to a cross. If I had been Jesus, I would have probably screamed at my torturers, “Hey you just wait till 3 days from now! When I rise from the dead I’m coming after you and you’re going to wish you’d never been born!” But Jesus “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” That’s what we’re called to do. When we’re wronged, we can trust God who will someday make everything right. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

When you suffer injustice – not if, but when – remember, the Judge of all the earth will do what is just. Keep entrusting yourself to him.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.