"And [Jesus] told [the disciples] a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, 'In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, "Give me justice against my adversary." For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, "Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming."' And the Lord [Jesus] said, 'Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?'" - Luke 18:1-8
Jesus is comparing righteous God to this unrighteous judge. It seems a strange comparison, but Jesus is again employing a "how much more" argument. If this wicked judge will give justice to a poor widow because of her constant begging, how much more will God, who is perfectly holy and righteous, give justice to believers who cry out to him day and night for justice.
With the horrible injustices that are happening in Ukraine, people around the world are crying out for justice. This shows a deep-seated human desire for justice to be done that atheism cannot explain. Thankfully, evidence is being collected for presentation at future war crimes tribunals. This is good and right in God's eyes. Humans should approximate God's justice as far as possible while respecting due process. But ultimately we will need God to handle this.
The people of Ukraine who have lost loved ones through the callous, unjustified brutality of the Russian army want justice to be done. The believers among them may be questioning God's faithfulness and power given what has happened to them. I know I would be. Will God execute justice on their behalf? Are Jesus' words true?
War presents many difficult theological questions we must wrestle with.
Perhaps some Russian leaders, commanders, and soldiers will be held accountable for their actions through the war crimes tribunals. But the fact is many won't. Human justice is limited and can only approximate divine justice. Not all the war criminals will be found out and punished. But God, from his vantage point, is able to dispense perfect justice for all the individuals involved. Jesus promises that the Father will provide justice for his people, and he will do so quickly. Our responsibility is to cry out to him for justice day and night.
Father, on behalf of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, we cry out for justice. Please act on their behalf with perfect justice. Repay in some extraordinary way the families who have been impacted by the Russian brutality. Bring the perpetrators of these horrible crimes to justice. Deal with every person fairly on an individual level, as only you can do. We know we don't have the power or knowledge to dispense perfect justice, but you do.
I pray you will give the Ukrainian believers the supernatural ability to forgive, to love their enemies, and to leave vengeance to you. I pray for the Russian soldiers who need forgiveness. Help them to come to you in repentance and brokenness. You can forgive even their crimes because of what Jesus accomplished at the cross. Remind us that we are all sinners in need of the same salvation through Jesus your Son. - In his name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman