I'm about to get a lot of people upset at me. I was reminded yesterday why I don't like superheroes. Yes, there I said it: I don't like superheroes. There is one very good reason that a number of people will not understand. Superheroes are a bunch of vigilantes who disperse their version of justice. They are all about justice; punishing the bad guy, if not straight out killing him. We love to cheer the good guy on, even if he has taken on the role for himself and has been given no legal authority. We also cheer him on as he seeks the destruction of the bad guy. As a Christian you should be offended by such a notion.
Now I am not telling you to stop watching superhero movies but I am telling you to be careful of allowing the notion of justice to settle in your heart. If you were to live with this same mindset you would end up living in opposition to most of what Jesus taught and what the Spirit empowers us to live. Father has always had a heart for reconciliation with his enemies over applying justice.
Without a doubt Father has every right to bring justice against the evil doer but before you say Amen to that you had better realize that it was while we were still sinners that Jesus died for us. It is the sinner who is the enemy of Yahweh. Hear the words of Father as Jesus taught us to love our enemies, just as Father was doing through Jesus. He loves his enemy so much that he laid down his life for us. We didn't deserve it. The only thing we deserved was death but instead he chose to reach out with life. This has always been his heart:
For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you. (Malachi 3:6-7)
Apply those verses to your own heart. So many Christians are consumed by guilt because they adhere more to their fear of a just God than they do to a compassionate Father. Yes, we need to feel the conviction of our sin, our rebellion, against him but we must also hear his voice calling us back to him. Don't hide in a cave licking your wounds. Stand in his light; let your shame be exposed; and he will clothe you in his compassionate forgiveness and grace. If he was not the God who never changes, we would be destroyed for our rebellion. Instead we hear him say, return to me and I will return to you.
Father is justice. Those who do not seek his forgiveness will be destroyed. But justice is not what he desires. He has always desired reconciliation and restoration. Why do you think it took him so long to finally send his people into captivity? Why do you think he sent prophet after prophet with great warnings and the call to return to him? He would rather forgive his people then to apply his justice to them. Even then he sent them into captivity to turn their hearts back to him instead of destroying them.
He does not change.
Perhaps you have not been the best Christian. Perhaps you have been a Christian in name only. Maybe you are one who has the appearance of godliness but in private you are a very wicked person. Maybe your sins are not the public sort but Jesus has promised that whatever is done in private will be exposed in public. Perhaps you believe you are a lost cause and you would rather pretend that God does not exist than to deal with your rebellious ways. I'm here to tell you, despite your rebellion, Father still loves you. He is calling to you right now to turn back to him so he can return to you. He does not want to punish you, he wants to be reconciled with you. He does not want to bring you low, he wants to restore you.
If we lived in a world of super heroes there would not be many of us left alive. We would be tracked down by these vigilantes and killed or jailed. You may not think our rebellion is all that major but it is. Praise the Lord we live in an age of grace where Yahweh seeks to forgive the offence instead of punish it. And we who have been forgiven must in turn forgive. We need to seek reconciliation and not justice. We must love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us. We need to let go of our desire for justice and become agents of restoration. We are not agents of Shield seeking justice; we are agents of Grace, desiring to shield.