January 19, 2016

Bill Cosby, Martin Luther King, Abortion and Injustice

by Jordan Standridge

In an incredible change of development, Bill Cosby could get away with rape. Allegedly, over the course of the last 50 years, Cosby has drugged and raped over 50 women. But a recent story came out claiming that Bill Cosby admitted to using sedatives to drug women back in 2005, but was promised by the prosecutor that it would never be used against him in court, and there is an email to prove this agreement. It is very likely that his confession, as well as any evidence gathered as a result of that confession, will not be allowed in court. If this turns out to be true Bill Cosby could go free. If the allegations are true, I can’t help but wonder what those women would go through if he ends up getting away with it.

martin-luther-king-mug-shotDealing with injustice is one of the most difficult things for people to go through. This situation with Bill Cosby is only one example of injustice out of a multitude this week alone. In celebrating Martin Luther King Jr Day yesterday, we were reminded yet again about the injustice he faced and that he exposed the injustice millions faced through the evil of American slavery. Later this week hundreds of thousands will be invading the streets of Washington D.C. to participate in the March For Life and protest the Roe v. Wade decision. Millions of babies have since been killed and their murderers, instead of being locked up in jail for selfishly and callously murdering their babies, are not only free, but applauded for their decisions, and given a platform to encourage others to do so as well.

How do we deal with all of this? How do we think about injustice in the world? Here are six thoughts I need to remind myself with in order to deal with terrible injustice.

God sees everything

David, in 2 Samuel 11, after committing incredible evil, and trying to cover it all up, seems to get away with it, and yet the last verse of the chapter tells us not only that God saw everything but that he was not pleased. David obviously learns his lesson in Psalm 139:7-8 when he asks, “Where Can I flee from your presence?” he concludes that God is omnipresent. While God’s omnipresence is a terror to the wicked, it is an encouragement to the righteous. I’ve heard the word “integrity” defined as someone who is the same in private as he is in public, but I think it should be taken a step further, true integrity should be defined as the constant knowledge that you are never in private, you are always in the presence of One. God is always watching, and ultimately He is the only audience member that matters.

God will punish all evil

Proverbs 11:21 says, “Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.” If Solomon’s wisdom isn’t enough, God himself says in Isaiah 13:11, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.” While it’s hard to wait for God to bring justice, we must remember that not only will God punish all evil but he also knows the best timing for everything. And even if Cosby gets to enjoy his millions for another decade or longer, apart from repentance and trust in Christ, he will suffer eternally in Hell for his sin. God’s incredible and inimitable patience should not cause us to think that his wrath is not coming.

Life is short

Creating-and-animating-a-dandelion-in-Autodesk-Maya-and-ZBrushWhen someone is suffering, the worst thing we can do is barge into their life with a sentence like, “suck it up, and quit being so earthly minded!” But one way I have been shepherded through injustice in my own life has been to consider eternity. We have to train our minds to think about heaven. It is incredible to sit down and think about eternity. We spend so much time worrying about this life, earthly comforts and decisions that will ultimately be meaningless 100 years from now. James 4:14 warns us that life is but a vapor.  Likewise, Jesus, who always calls us to value heaven more than this life, reminds us in Matthew 6:28-34 that it is the pagans who worry about tomorrow. We instead should seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first. Responding to injustice with an unmovable trust in God, is a symptom of a life lived with eyes fixed on Christ with a desire to please Him and be with Him above all else.

People are worse than you think

While no one deserves to be raped, tortured, taken apart limb by limb, or murdered by fellow human beings, it is important to remember that we all deserve worse from God Himself. There is no such thing as an innocent person. Paul reminds us in Romans 3:10-23  that “There is no one righteous”, “there is no one who seeks after God”, “their throat is an open grave”, “their feet are swift to shed blood”, culminating in the reminded that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The depravity of man is essential in the moment of injustice. We must remind ourselves that ultimately there is no such thing as an innocent person. Leaving the death of Jesus as the only pure form of injustice the world has ever seen.

We deserve Hell too

In the moment of obvious injustice, it is very tempting to get angry. It is also very easy to judge the evildoer. We love seeing the bad guy get what he deserves. Hollywood has made a fortune in giving the audience what they want, namely, the death of the bad guy. Usually, unless the director wants to go against the grain, it ends badly for the bad guy. In dealing with injustice we must remind ourselves that we too, if it were not for the power of the gospel, would be capable of the same if not much, much worse. Having a proper view of our own sin, and our guilt before God, is something that will help us understand and deal with people’s sin around us.

God uses injustice to sanctify the believer

injusticeJames 1:2-4 says that we should, “consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds (including injustice) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Romans 8:28 suggests that God works in all things (including injustice) to work for good in the lives of His children. And Joseph, despite having suffered terrible injustice, is an example of maturity when he says, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” A godly response to injustice always leads to a more sanctified life.

Evil surrounds us. I’m sure you’ve been affected by injustice in your life. We cannot allow Satan and the world to take away the joy we have in knowing the Lord. The temptation to complain is great, the inclination to lose hope is strong and the impulse to get angry and exact revenge can be powerful. But we must remember the word in Romans 12:17-21 where it says,

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • Guest

    Thank you for a timely reminder that God is both sovereign and good even in our suffering. One of the agonies of suffering injustice is seeing the one sinning against you be exalted by others. As the object of my father’s daily sexual perversions when I was a child, I saw him esteemed both in the church and in the family. When I recently met someone from our church during that era who spoke highly of him I just froze. More recently, my pastor has sinned against me in a most grievous way and he has chosen to exercise church discipline against me to avoid taking responsibility for his sin. I do not just feel alone, I am alone. I am shunned by all whom I most loved. Yet I am mindful that I have tasted only a tiny bit of what my Savior suffered in the garden and on the cross and I am thankful for His mercy to me.

    • Jordan Standridge

      I know someone who went through something similar with their father and is an atheist today, so the fact that your faith is still strong is an encouragement and a testament to the truth of salvation. I don’t presume to be able to help in any way with your current situation but I think that going about it alone is not a good idea. I would strongly encourage you to seek out help. Whether it’s a counselor who can help you deal with this injustice, or perhaps help you see areas where you might have sinned against the pastor, however small! Please email me or send a message on the Facebook page and I can point you in a direction to seek out help. Thanks for commenting!

    • Sara Crewe Two

      I am deeply sorry these things happened to you…

  • Doug Evans

    Outstanding! Sometimes when the world closes in on you a reminder that God is in charge and uses all things for His good is needed.
    Reposted at http://wideawakechristian.blogspot.com

    • Jordan Standridge

      Thanks Doug.

  • Jason

    Romans 12:17-21 is what came to mind throughout the article as I read it. I was so happy to find it at the conclusion.

    • Jordan Standridge

      Great minds think alike!

      • Jason

        But what has that to do with us?

        • Jordan Standridge

          I guess the opposite is true as well.

  • Karl Heitman

    As one of our former profs says, “That’ll preach!” Good job, bro. Very well-written.

  • Allen Barnes

    “but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” ~ Jeremiah 9:24

  • KPM

    Hey Jordan, I agree that abortion is wrong, but do you think its possible that we, as Conservative, Bible-believing Christians, can talk about abortion in a way that does not give hope to women who have made that choice and now regret it?

    John tells us that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Do you think its possible when speaking against the evils of abortion to condemn the women who have made that choice without also giving them the hope of the gospel? What if a woman who had an abortion in the past came to your church on Sunday, or read this blog, and all she heard was condemnation, without any hope? Do you think she would ever want to return to your church (or any church) ever again? Is it possible that this kind of condemnation without hope, Law without Gospel, would present a serious barrier to her ever coming to Christ in order to receive the forgiveness of her sins?

  • For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you may follow in his steps.

    Good advice. For further reading, just read 1 Peter.

    • Jordan Standridge

      amen.

  • Adam

    When dealing with this subject matter I believe it is important to take a long-range perspective on it. One of the central arguments of the cynic against God deals with this very subject. And so the argument goes: “If God is so good why does He allow so much evil in the world?” The implied accusation is that God is neither good nor just for allowing injustice. Revelation tells us that God will finally deal with evil and injustice…but in HIS time. For reasons unknown to us He has allowed injustice and evil to continue since the Garden until “due time” when He will deal with it accordingly. This can be a frustrating and disheartening concept for both Believer and unbeliever alike. And so Jesus says, “These things have I spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We will suffer injustice. Others will suffer injustice. Yet our eyes must remain on Christ – He has overcome the world and someday that will manifest itself as a final reality as witnessed by John and revealed to us through the book of Revelation. It is when we look at suffering and injustice from a short-range perspective that we become disheartened. Revelation requires we look at injustice and God’s dealing with it – finally and fully – in the long term. From this perspective we can have peace and “be of good cheer.”

    • Jason

      Scripture does explain the wait in 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

      Everything that God works is for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). This life is not a holding pattern until everything is set right, it is the manner that God (in perfect wisdom) is refining and building his Kingdom.

      • Adam

        You missed the point of my comment. I never suggested this life was a holding pattern until everything is ultimately and finally set right. My point was the mindset of the unbeliever and believer alike and the negative consequences thereof of not having a long-term perspective when it comes to God dealing with evil and injustice in the world. Suffering more often than not (especially if severe) triggers a desire for a quick solution. This is simply our natural way of thinking as human beings – nobody wants to suffer even if there is a positive end. Sometimes people are delivered and “compensated” for the injustice they suffered in this world in this world and sometimes they are not. Therefore, my point, once again, is that approaching such situations with a long-term perspective will help to deal with them more appropriately. If we expect God to remedy our situation NOW and He doesn’t, then we can become bitter and angry. To deny this is to deny human nature, more specifically, the carnal nature – we still can get angry and frustrated with God. But… if we know that the Scriptures teach He may not deliver us, or our loved ones, or others who are suffering, and finally and fully will not do so world-wide until Jesus comes again, then this may help alleviate the anger and bitterness; i.e. God does have a remedy and it will be experienced by all His saints….someday. And for some, “someday” is never experienced this side of eternity. It’s important we keep that perspective in mind.

        • Jason

          Your point is well received and absolutely vital. I just don’t agree that evil persists for “reasons unknown”. Tribulations are their own manner of blessings (James 1:2). The scriptures give us plenty of explanations but, as you noted in your reply, they are not very popular. Because people dismiss the explanations we have as ” not good enough” we let our own tendency to want an immediate solution rob us of the certainty of God’s promises and solution.

          • Adam

            I probably should clarify my original comment. I agree that suffering has a purpose for the believer, the end being conformity to the image of Christ. What I was referring to more so was the time duration, not the purpose. That is, when Christ does finally return, why is it going to be on such and such a date? And until that date arrives, evil and injustice continues. But why? If Christ comes January 31, 2016, why has God allowed evil and injustice to continue until that particular date? Why not return January 31, 1016? That would alleviate evil and injustice and all the suffering it has caused by 1000 years. That really was my point. To this we do not have an answer nor does Scripture give an answer, and this is what many a cynic bring into question. When we look at the first advent of Christ the Scripture simply tells us when “the fullness of time was come God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” But what does that mean – “fullness of time?” Why wasn’t the fullness of time 500 years earlier? We have no idea why God chose the particular date he did anymore than we know why He has a determined date for Jesus to return. Until that predetermined time arrives, He allows evil and injustice. We can’t contend that He allows it in order to purify His church because the church can never be purified to a state of perfection until after death or after Christ returns. So the church suffers perpetually until then, and the world suffers as well. The Scripture gives no reason why a particular time has been chosen for it all to end and justice to have its day.

  • Tom

    Jordan, God doesn’t not call us to passivity when it comes to injustice. We are called to seek justice for the widows and the orphans (and, by principle, those who are being oppressed). Don’t let your Christianity turn you into a “let go and let God” person when it comes to injustice.

    • Jordan Standridge

      I won’t! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Sir Aaron

    I am in law enforcement. The only peace and comfort I get from watching so many terrible crimes go without justice is from knowing that God is in control (another example of practical Calvinism). I also realize that it is only by God’s good grace that I am kept from being just as debased as the worst of men.

  • Starrocks923

    It’s almost trivial, but I felt that maybe I should point this out…

    ” In celebrating Martin Luther King Jr Day yesterday, we were reminded yet again about the injustice he faced and that he exposed the injustice millions faced through the evil of American slavery.”

    American slavery WAS sinful and evil, but what Martin Luther King Jr. actually exposed was segregation. Abraham Lincoln is the man widely credited as ending American Slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 3rd, 1863, 66 years before Martin Luther King Jr. was born!

    Great post, as always.