“One last comment,” Mackenzie added. “I just can’t imagine any final outcome that would justify all this.”

“Mackenzie,” Papa rose out of her chair and walked around the table to give him a big squeeze. “We’re not justifying it. We are redeeming it.”

Here is another case where we humans put our limited human understanding on God and believe that God thinks the way we do. We tend to justify everything!

Mack was looking for justification from God as to why God (who is all good, all powerful, and all knowing) would allow his little girl to be tragically kidnapped and killed.

Papa (God) replies, “Mackenzie, we aren’t justifying.”

When we do things that are “wrong” or “bad” in our lives, we have a natural human tendency to justify it.

For instance, say a friend calls you but you don’t answer because you know they are going to ask you to go out with them. The bottom line is you don’t want to. Therefore, instead of answering and being honest, you let it go to your voicemail so you don’t have to deal with it. Instead of feeling bad about it, you justify your decision by saying, “Well, I’m tried; they’ll understand.” Or, “They’ve done it to me before.”

Honesty when shared and done in kindness, is always better for relationships than avoidance.

However, we are prone to justification.

The part of ourselves that drives self-justification, the energy that produces the need to justify our actions and decisions – especially the wrong ones – is an unpleasant feeling is known as ‘cognitive dissonance.’ Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent, such as ‘Smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me’ and ‘I smoke two packs a day.’ Or, “Consumer debt is not a wise decision” but then we think, “It’s ok if I just spend more than I make this month. I’ll pay it off in the months ahead.”

When we make these inconsistent decisions, we experience dissonance. It produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don’t rest easy until they find a way to reduce it.

When Papa responds to Mack about his statement regarding the justification of Missy’s death, Papa states that God doesn’t need to justify things. Instead, God redeems them.

Thus we need to make a perspective change. Instead of assuming that God creates, renders, delivers the tragedy and evil, what if instead we start focusing on the fact that God redeems. God makes all things new?

In Ephesians, we read, “We have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (2:8-9)

Saved means transformed. Transformed towards becoming at one with God. This is a gift of God. We don’t need to be justified, nor do we need to justify. Instead, we have been and are being redeemed.