In the past few days, I’ve been feeling more than a little relieved. It seems that, per Amos 5:24, justice is once again rolling like an unstoppable river. That the laws of this land are being upheld and miscreants brought to trial. That rickety empires of lying, hate and disregard are collapsing.
I think it’s okay to be gratified when evil gets cut down and withers. When generalized shame erodes the reputations and ill-gotten livelihoods of grifters, hate-mongers and narcissists. When minor-league oppressors are brought to their knees. When they face the consequences of their evil as justice arrives on their doorsteps.
These thoughts seem similar to what Mary sang about in her rephrasing of Hannah’s song (See Luke 1:46-55 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10). Or David’s imprecatory psalms—where he invokes God’s punishment of his enemies, or thanks God for doing so. (See Psalms 137 or 140 for the former, and Psalms 18 or 68 for the latter.) When Jesus throws the religious-huckster moneychangers out of the Temple (John 2:13-22).
I’m not rejoicing in anyone’s misfortune—if that’s what you call the certain grinding of the wheels of justice. I’m sad that this is what it takes to dissuade from and punish wrongdoing. I’m not gloating, either. Instead, I’m comforted to find my ongoing, sometimes-crippling anxiety fading away. I’m glad to replace my deep sadness about demagogues with thankfulness that justice has (finally) come.
I know that these emotions could lead to possible problems: Holding malice towards those experiencing great injury or damage. Thinking myself superior to those suffering from harm. Smugly glorying in their troubles. Making myself judge, jury and prison warden. That’s going too far, and piling those attitudes onto the previous wrongs doesn’t make things right.
Now that justice has arrived, I can be joyful.
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