Our Scripture passage for this Sunday begins, “Princes persecute me without cause.” That is, they are giving me a hard time “for no good reason.” This complaint is repeated over and over in Scripture, and the the same thing happens repeatedly in our world. Perhaps you have felt it yourself. Someone has done something to you “for no good reason.”
One verse in the Old Testament Scriptures uses the word twice: “For without cause they hid their net for me; Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.” The phrase “without cause” can hold a variety of implications - legal, financial, personal, etc. My rendering, “for no good reason,” says, “Hey, I don’t deserve this treatment.”
The truth is, there may be no good reason from your point of view, but there may be a very good reason from the other person’s point of view (not “good” as in “moral goodness,” but “good” as in “it suits my purposes, whether noble or ignoble”). Why does someone do something to you “for no good reason?” Well, maybe you have something they want. Or maybe they are paying you back for some real or imagined offense. Or maybe they are just feeling mean, and you are an easy mark. Those may not be good reasons for you, but they seem to work for the perpetrator/persecutor.
But maybe their reasons are not all nefarious. Maybe they know what is good for you, when you don’t yourself. A kid may say that his parents took his phone away “for no good reason,” while, in fact, there may be a very good reason. Maybe there are factors at work that you don’t understand, and it falls to you to suffer something relatively minor for the the sake of some greater good. Maybe when you complain that you have been mistreated “for no good reason,” there actually is a good reason, and that reason is actually good.
So let’s all slow down the martyr talk about how we are constantly mistreated “for no good reason.” Yes, it happens, and all too often. But here is something else that has most assuredly happened: God has reached out to you in Christ “for no good reason.” He is extending mercy to you that you did not deserve. Jesus died for your sins “without cause.” You, by faith in Jesus, have the privilege of being called a child of God through no fault of your own. In fact, the verse at the top of the page implies that God had every good reason to execute the judgment that rebels against the King deserve, and yet He withheld His hand, and gave His Son - for no good reason, except that He loved you.