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Justice Within Me
Why vindication does not belong to you
(A guest article by Melissa Presser)
It’s been a year since the wrong in my life has not been made right. A year of sorrow, of angst and of waiting. A year of reading article after article about justice attained by others just like me. With every headline came greater angst, and a deep desire to shake my fist in fury at the God who swore to protect me. Where are you God? Where is the God of justice?
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against ungodly people; from deceitful and unjust men deliver me!
For You are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
I haven’t found any good articles, talks, or real deep dives written from a Christian perspective that deal with the feelings and aftermath of injustice.
I’m talking about honest and candid information that showcases the ugly side of what we experience when someone betrays us, creating deep and gaping soul wounds. These are the kind of wounds that don’t allow us to get out of bed, the kind that make us want to meet Jesus sooner.
When one is betrayed by lies and deceit, gaslighting and other techniques meant to tear down and destroy a person, it leaves stains on the soul, a bleeding out of heart. Words I read on the subject were hollow and teasing, words even in the Psalms seemed so far away because they ended in poetic justice.
God, where is my justice?
But the more I prayed, the further I felt from the destruction that blew up my life. With each Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, I felt as if I was being set adrift on a boat to an unknown destination of God’s choosing. And while the anger was still there, with each row of those proverbial oars towards my unknown destination, I realized that I was not in control of my destiny.
I had to throw away the map, the plans, all of it. I had to simply keep rowing in the faith and hope that God knew what He was doing, and where He was taking me.
This realization didn’t set me afloat to happyland. It didn’t quench my underlying desire to see vindication. And it certainly didn’t release me from the pain I was feeling. It just sent me in a different direction to seek answers from my heavenly Father, who didn’t really seem to be saying much at all.
But as I healed, as God built my village around me with the people that He hand-selected, I garnered wisdom and joy. I was given the gift of remembering what it was like to be with people who genuinely loved and cared about me. I realized that it was one person who had hurt me, not an army, and he was powerless to overcome the number of people who had not. I saw myself far from the place of anger and frustration I’d been in, while he hadn’t moved. I was the believer, so I had to believe. He wasn’t a believer, and so he didn’t believe.
I started to look at justice differently, which—as a former attorney in the criminal justice system for nearly twenty years—seemed impossible. Rather than look at justice as revenge or as the righteous punishment executed for the crime committed, I started to look at it as justice within me.
Maybe justice isn’t about revenge. Maybe justice is the righteous fruit you produce on your own land.
What is God’s justice?
It’s detachment from the things of this world. It’s loving Christ more than the desire for vindication. It’s giving back to God what belongs to God.
Our bond to Christ should be so strong that our belonging to Him, our pull to Him, overrides any attachments, sorrows, or human events. He should remain King over all.
The changing and adapting of my landscape started to take place—the ability to forgive, to learn and to change, all while clinging to Christ.
Why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my savior and my God.
Justice is the Lord’s. It doesn’t belong to us, and the longer we hold on to vindication, the longer it evades us. We have no power to effectuate what belongs to our Lord. Why hold on to something that isn’t ours?
Let go, let it float. Let it get to heaven. Turn the darkness into a red balloon of the Holy Spirit, filled grace—and watch as it floats away to the God who hears us.
To the One who watches. To the One who knows.
That balloon filled with all of our emotions, tears, and heartfelt prayers is every Our Father, every Hail Mary and every Glory Be. The breath of God is in that balloon. And it needs to get back to its Maker.
Mercy triumphs over judgment (Jas. 2:13)
Guest author bio:
Melissa Presser is a Jewish girl who was led home to the Catholic Church by St. Edith Stein, a fellow Jewish Catholic. She is a wife, mother of three, and a seasoned attorney. Melissa writes about redemptive suffering and finding God in the dark at MissioDeiCatholic.org and https://www.catholicmom.com. You can watch her conversion story on EWTN's The Journey Home.