He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
SOMETIMES WE FEEL THAT LIFE HAS NOT REPAID US FOR THE EFFORT WE’VE PUT FORTH. We know that we’ve made some mistakes, but even so, we feel that there’s an unfair difference between what we’ve given and what we’ve gotten in return. And so we cry to God for justice. We appeal to Him to set the record straight — and make up for the blessings that life has withheld from us.
Well, it is certainly true that in specific instances we may have been wronged and justice has not been forthcoming. In such cases, the instruction of the Scriptures is clear: “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). When real injustice has been committed, it is right to make a heartfelt plea for vindication: “How long, O Lord . . . until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9–11).
But before we pray for God’s justice, most of us need to think twice. However wrongfully we may have been treated in particular situations, if all the evidence bearing on our lives were to be brought into the courtroom, it would be seen that, on the whole, the injustices we’ve suffered don’t add up to the injustices we’ve committed. We may have been mistreated here and there, but all things considered, if we’ve been shortchanged, it’s in the area of punishment rather than blessing. David had grievous enemies against whom he had legitimate complaints, but David also knew that the larger truth was this: God “has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.”
God is a God not only of justice but also of patience. Most of us would say we’re glad that He’s been patient with us personally, punishing us less than we deserve. But if God chooses to be patient with those who’ve wronged us, punishing them less than they deserve, shouldn’t we be grateful for that too? And besides, in some cases we may not even have been wronged. As the Lord sees things, our enemies may have a better argument than we do.
“Could it be that you deserve the unpleasantness you are now experiencing? Did you bring it on yourself? If you are in any way to blame then you should patiently endure the pain” (Lawrence Scupoli).