Wired for Justice
God on Monday
We are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23. 41-43).
Human beings have an inbuilt sense of right and wrong that provides them with a sense of justice and injustice.
In the UK, we have recently seen the freeing of two prisoners in Iran. Both are UK citizens and both were held on false claims. A faithful band of activists have kept the plight of these prisoners - Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori - in the public eye. But another prisoner, Morad Tahbaz, is still not free.
We naturally, and rightly, feel anger at hearing of wrongful imprisonment.
In Luke’s crucifixion narrative, one condemned criminal seems to recognise Jesus as the Messiah but is angry that Jesus appears to offer no help. The other condemned prisoner allows his innate sense of justice to surface. Consequently, he acknowledges that he is getting what he deserves, but that Jesus is not. This opens him to a future: ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ That is enough faith and trust for Jesus to show deep mercy and bring this prisoner into paradise.
How difficult do we make it for people to come to Jesus? There is nothing formulaic here. Just a simplicity and sincerity that responds to, and unlocks, God’s unconditional love.
God’s mercy is kindled with the tiniest spark of faith. That spark can emerge from a sense of right and wrong that is innate to all human beings. This includes all the people you will encounter this week in your daily work. Look out for those tiny sparks and ask God to fan the flame!
Lord Jesus, you came not to condemn but to save. Help us facilitate your love and mercy and prevent us from making judgements on the faith of others. May the Holy Spirit work in our daily lives, so that many will follow the condemned criminal into your kingdom. Amen.
Check out the book Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
. The author, Dane Ortlund, looks at the tender heart of Christ and what his mercy means for people today.
, Bright Star Consulting Ltd. Fiona has worked in women’s health as a gynaecologist and now works as a coach for women executives and licensed lay ministers.
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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