“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” (1 Timothy 5:24,25)
In more ways than one, to live in this present world is to live in a day of darkness. Darkness conceals; it keeps from our eyes what the light would make plain. Both good and bad are concealed in this life. The good of some is unknown – and they are even unjustly judged (e.g., Mordecai). The evil of others remains hidden – and they are highly praised (e.g., Haman).
Ignorance abounds because the real truth has not been uncovered. Proverbs 28:4 tells us that those who “forsake the law praise the wicked.” But the wicked can be praised even by those who have not forsaken the law when they are unaware of what has gone on “behind the scenes.” Men who have done wickedly in the sight of God can skillfully hide their deeds from the public eye and vilify any who they believe could damage their reputation. Though they have never humbled themselves, confessed their sins, and sought forgiveness from God or man, they continue on as though they are innocent and upright.
When Paul faced the unjust judgment of men, he was comforted in the knowledge that the Son would soon arise. He warned those whose tendency was to glory in men against hastily judging: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Cor. 4:5) Paul was content to leave his judgment, as well as that of others, in the hands of the perfect Judge.
The judgment seat of Christ will be the day of perfect clarity and perfect reward. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) We do not have to make sure now that men properly reward us for our good. Neither do we have to make sure now that men properly reward others for their evil. This is not a day of perfect light or perfect justice. It is a day for us to learn to love mercy, not judgment.
As we grow we are still quite prone to become overly vexed when we see injustice prevail in this life. Ultimately though, we need to remember that no one will “get away” with anything. All will be properly adjudicated. James has a stiff warning to those who are “on top” at the expense of others in this life and think they are getting away it: “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” (James 5:5,6)
There is a strange irony that the mercy shown by the just in this life can actually work against the unrepentant. They are lulled into a false sense of security when there is no resistance; when those they have wronged are silent; and when their offenses have been forgiven and let go of. But the silence of those they have harmed, and the praises of those who are ignorant of their deeds, only serves to facilitate their judgment.
Yes, God calls us to let it go; but that does not mean that He has done the same.