In the United Kingdom we can see many examples where the law is paralysed. Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets would frequently lament the corruption and injustice they witnessed within their nation.
Micah, for example, paints a shocking picture of the immorality of his day:
The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire– they all conspire together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge… (Micah 7:2-4a NIV)
You can also sense the utter frustration of Habakkuk the prophet with his outcry:
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. (Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV)
More examples could be provided with the prophet pleading for intervention to stop the severe immorality of the day. In the text above, Habakkuk describes the law at his time as being ‘paralysed’ – a term we would argue applies to us today in the UK, even though in a different sense.
This week the Home Office revealed that only 9% of reported crimes result in a charge – that’s less than a 1 out of 10 chance of a reported crime resulting in a charge! The rate of convictions that result from charges will obviously be much lower still, and even where there is a conviction, the ‘punishment’ will certainly not be any significant deterrent. Basically, the bottom line is that it is incredibly unlikely that the perpetrator of a crime will be bought to any kind of justice – the vast majority get away scot-free which has resulted in an abysmal level of respect for our justice system. Those who break the law have no fear of the consequences – those who are victims of crime have no faith in the justice system to provide recourse.
Now, there is obviously a clear case of ‘injustice’ when someone is wrongly convicted of a crime – that should be avoided at all costs. However, an ‘injustice’ also occurs when no-one is bought to account when a crime is committed. That form of injustice is endemic in the UK and it is therefore accurate to describe the law as ‘paralysed’.
From a Christian perspective, we could go further and highlight other forms of immorality that are lauded by our culture that systematically and deliberately removes God every step of the way. Abortion is rampant, the concept of sexuality and gender distorted, the family unit has been destroyed and this is further compounded by ‘hate’ laws and ‘political correctness’ being used to silence anyone who speaks up or questions the secular narrative.
So, what should the Christian make of this? Why is God letting this happen? Why is the mainstream church so silent (even complicit) with these trends?
We are convinced judgment is coming to the UK. If the people of Israel could not escape the consequences of their rejection of God, then why should we?! We do not know what form this judgment will come and we do not know when the Lord’s patience will run out, but justice must arrive and when it does, it will be decisive. For us, the most sobering element of this is that judgment may well start with the mainstream church. Many of the spiritual ‘watchmen’ of this country, those with prominent and visible positions within the church are either sleeping or are not biblically discerning enough to recognise our perilous position as a nation.
For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17 NIV)
However, for those who can see that we are on a collision course with God, we must remember that vengeance or justice does NOT belong to us – it belongs to God alone. Our job is to lovingly warn those around us, particularly those within the church. Our hope should remain on our Lord, our job is look up. Yes, it is natural to be dismayed and cry out to our Lord is despair. However, we can be rest assured that God will take care of things – our job is to remain faithful and obedient. This is what Micah expresses in the midst of the injustice of his day:
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 NIV)
In a similar vain, Habakkuk also submits to God’s plan even though he does not understand it:
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength… (Habakkuk 3:18-19a NIV)
Danny recently delivered a sermon at St Andrew’s Baptist Church where he worked through the book of Habakkuk and following this interesting question on injustice through the eyes of the believer. The focus of the message was on the conduct of Habakkuk as he lamented the immorality of his day – we can take encouragement from this obscure book in the Old Testament as the situation in our time increasingly looks the same…
You are able to listen to the sermon below: