Then Simon Peter who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Jn. 18:10, NRSV; Lk. 22:51, NIV)
“Act first, think later,” might have been Peter’s motto. He was a man of passion and action—commendable qualities for certain. However, as Solomon pointed out, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Prov. 19:2, NIV). Passion and zeal need to be balanced by wisdom and love.
Peter’s heart was probably in the right place. He loved Jesus. But Judas had just betrayed Him, and now a detachment of soldiers, along with officials from the chief priests and Pharisees were taking Him away to what was sure to be an unfair trial and execution. Righteously indignant, Peter jumped to action. And was promptly corrected by Jesus, who rushed to repair the damage.
It is easy for us, also, to become indignant over injustice we encounter. But even when our indignation is righteously motivated, it is still alarmingly easy for us to sin in our anger. It’s all too easy to react to sin in ways that are also sinful—meanness, sarcasm, cynicism, slander, and the like do not “bring about the righteous life that God desires” (Jas. 1:20, NIV). No matter how corrupt or oppressive the situation we are incited over, reacting impulsively, without taking time to discern God’s heart and purposes, only makes things worse. And may require God to correct us and do damage control.
So before you open your mouth, pick up the phone, initiate a boycott, or start a social network viral campaign, talk to God about it. Tell God how you feel. Tell Him how you see the situation. If you like, tell Him what you think should be done. But then take time to ask Him—and to really listen—to what He has to say. His perspective may be different from or bigger than yours. Don’t do anything until you have heard from Him. And in that way you can respond to injustice in a way that will not create further harm. In that way you can advance His good kingdom.