Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
There is no doubt that there is a lot of injustice in the world. Every time we post something publicly on social media, we risk trolls trashing our comments. When we are blamed for something and are completely innocent of wrongdoing, people are quick to judge and condemn us. They may drag us into the justice system because of false charges against us. People love to gossip and may spread fabricated rumors about us that ruin our reputation.
As Christians, we are supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is hard to know how to react to injustice. It is natural for us to feel outraged and full of righteous indignation when innocent people are ruined, oppression is prevalent, poverty is everywhere, and evildoers are getting away with criminal behavior. Leaders are corrupt, and discrimination, war, and conflict are never-ending. So what should we do when we face unjust treatment?
Biblical Examples of Injustice
There are numerous examples in the Bible of people who were treated unfairly. Jesus Himself was innocent when he was condemned to a terrible death and did not deserve the terrible treatment that he endured.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He had a master who recognized his talents, and he did well until his master’s wife tried to entice him into her bed. He resisted, and the wife retaliated by claiming that he tried to seduce her. He ended up in prison for years for something he did not do.
David encountered a lot of injustice in his life. Before David became king, King Saul was jealous of David’s popularity and pursued David to kill him.
After David became king, he wrote extensively on how friends and people close to him hurt and betrayed him in the Psalms. Even his own son, Absalom, turned against him and tried to seize power.
How Christians can Handle Injustice
Prayer seems like a given, but there are some specific things we can pray for:
- That God would bless the person or people who harmed us
- The strength to manage the strong emotions we feel at the unfairness such as anger and hurt
- Help with forgiving the person or people
- The strength not to seek vengeance
- Wisdom to know how to deal with the situation
Before we get on our high horses, we need to assure ourselves that we truly are innocent in the situation. We should examine our hearts and minds and ask God to convict us of any hidden sins (Psalm 26:2-3). David stood before God and proclaimed that he was innocent of any wrongdoing in one situation in Psalm 17.
Forgive The Offenders
It is really tough to forgive people who mistreat us, but we must do it. Our outrage and pain can turn into bitterness that will contaminate our lives with destructive emotions. The Bible clearly teaches that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us from our sins. It is tough to do, and we may have to revisit the process repeatedly to maintain our emotional health.
Manage Negative Emotions
Injustice stirs up a lot of anger, hurt, and a desire for revenge. There is so much in the world that is unfair such as poverty, oppression, government corruption, and discrimination. It is natural to be angry when we experience injustice, but we must not allow our rage to turn into sin (Ephesians 2:26). Sometimes, we need our tears and expressions of grief to give us an emotional release.
We need to gain control over our emotions to move forward. Otherwise, negative emotions can consume our thought life. When we are stirred up, we could potentially hurt other people in our lives. We need to have a clear head before we can figure out what steps, if any, we need to take to deal with the unjust attack.
Respond in a Christian Way
We may be in circumstances that are unfair to us even though we are doing good. God commands us if we bear the pain of unjust suffering. We need to follow the example of Jesus Christ and show love to others (1 Peter 1: 19-21). The Bible also tells us to defend vulnerable people (Psalm 82:3-5, Psalm 31:8-9). However, there are times when it is wise to keep silent or give a soft answer. Some situations can put us in danger or harm us.
Take Action, If Needed
Sometimes trying to take action when we suffer injustice does little good and will probably cause harm. In some circumstances, we need to do something to address the wrongs.
The apostle Paul discouraged church members from dragging each other into court. He recommended that they decide to endure the injustice or go to the church or wise Christians for assistance. In some cases, we may need to report a crime or speak out against slander or gossip. These actions can protect others and us from harm.
Do Not Seek Vengeance
Christians should not repay evil for evil or insult for insult (1 Peter 3:9). Instead, we should repay evil with blessings. Jesus said that we are blessed when people persecute us because of our righteousness. We should do good to people such as feeding them or giving them something to drink. Doing so is like heaping burning coals on their heads (Romans 12:20).
God tells us in Psalm 37 that we should not fret over evildoers. God promises that He will shelter us from harm and be our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 59-16). He sees how we have been mistreated and will bring dark deeds out into the light (1 Corinthians 4:5). God will vindicate us, if not in this life, the next (Psalm 35:24).
Seek Wise Counsel and Support
Wise friends and counselors can help us to make smart decisions when unfair situations arise. The Bible can guide us through difficult times. Sometimes professionals such as lawyers can help.
Become a Part of the Solution, if Possible
The Bible says that there is a special blessing for people who endure unfairness (Proverbs 19-11). It is wise to overlook unfair treatment when possible. In other situations, we need to speak up and take action to protect ourselves and others. Either way, God promises to support and avenge us when we are treated unjustly.
The Holy Bible, New International Version
3 Christian Responses to Injustice, Outreach Magazine, Craig Greenfield
What is a Biblical Response to Injustice, blog.bible.com, Katy Callahan
How to Respond When Injustice Seems to Prevail, The Gospel Coalition, Bobby Jamieson
Falsely Accused: Vindicate Me, Lord, crosswalk.com, Dena Johnson Martin
© 2016 Carola Finch
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 26, 2016:
One of my favorite verses on this topic is 1 Peter 3:9. There is a plus side to injustice in the life of a true Christian. It reveals to them their true character, and it pushes them to improve. You give very helpful counsel.
Carola Finch (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 24, 2016:
Thanks for your comment. The Bible does tell us to pray for our enemies and those who rule over us.
Lori Colbo from United States on October 24, 2016:
Great article here. Injustice is so rampant on a national level as well. Christians don't want to pray for crooked govt entities and political figures. David did indeed ask God to reveal sin in his life. He also asked him to create in him a new heart.