Kitchen Table Conversation: Just What? (Justice)

The topic this day in Kitchen Table Conversation is Justice. I was excited when I first found this out about a month ago. I just happen to despise injustice.

So I began to think deeply about justice.  And I thought and I thought and I looked it up and I thought and I thought some more.

Good grief.  Justice is quite the topic.  I mean, it’s so vast yet so single.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am no great Bible scholar.  I find it much easier to speak from my heart.  So here goes.

Having worked for Law Enforcement and having the opportunity to listen and type out interviews between detectives and suspects, well, justice had slipped into my thoughts often. I would allow thoughts about these people, who weren’t yet convicted, to swirl through my head.  I had to stop that before they entered my heart. I found a way, through prayer, to delete these thoughts so I wouldn’t bring these people home with me.

I realized that I was  just the paper filer, the records keeper and distributer of such documents. That was my place at the PD. I was not a Judge or even a Jury. The Officers were not those roles either.  I felt for the victims. Big Time! I often prayed for Justice.

So, how do I feel about Justice? Eye for an eye? Throw them away for life or even death…….before they even have a trial? These are thoughts I struggle with every time I listen to the News. But who am I to pass sentence on people?

Recently I was unjustly accused of something that I did not do. I’ll tell you that story. It was small and menial compared to breaking the law and committing an unthinkable crime. But I felt so betrayed. You see, someone I thought was a close friend decided that some things our family faced recently was all due to the fact that I read a series of literature books that, apparently, they did not approve of. Therefore, our family went through a difficult week with “life stuff”. Say what?

This may sound silly compared to the serious subject of Justice, but bear with me. You see, with my relationship with God, I know I had the liberty to ready this particular series. I even ran it by my husband just to see what he thought. I knew he would agree with me. My mistake was not knowing the depth of my friendship with these people. It was shallow and I thought it was deep. Not only did I feel betrayed and judged by them, but they didn’t even tell me, they told my husband. That was probably a good idea though, my husband is much kinder and merciful. He turned it around and they didn’t even see that. I, on the other hand, would have possibly gotten all “Jersey” on them and cried. 😀

I really hate the feeling of being misunderstood and accused of something I didn’t do. I have spent the last week looking into my heart and what I came up with was the fact that I trusted them as friends. That is where it failed. After I got over all the things I felt about them (not pretty) I realized that I should have seen it coming. The hints they dropped about themselves were there. I chose to dive in anyway. Bottom-line, I want to show them love and mercy. They wouldn’t look at me at church, I tried to make eye contact. Our friendship has dropped to another level on the friendship meter. It is sad, but we will try and work it out and most likely agree to disagree – at least I will.

You see, I decided, after I threw the book at them and unjustly attacked them before God, and threw away the proverbial key, that I would let their Father and Friend, Jesus and Holy Spirit speak to their hearts. Their choice to listen to Him or not. My choice? My choice is Mercy. I want to show Mercy every time a misunderstanding comes up. And as humans, we know how often that happens. I would rather err on the side of Mercy than Judgement any day, and let God be our Judge. And in the place of the Law on this earth, the powers that be.

There. I now need a cup of coffee and a piece of pie and a good book to read 😉

Cate B

 

Kitchen Table Conversation: Justice? I just don’t get it…

"Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer!"
“Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer!”
Leverage
“The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you.”
The Shadow
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”
Superman
“The never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”
Underdog
“Never fear, Underdog is here!”

Even Underdog! Then there’s the Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Green Hornet, Red Rider, Zorro… not to mention my all-time favorite, the A-Team.

What do all these have in common? The demand for justice. Fairness. “What’s fair is fair.” Because people know what is right, what is fair, what is equitable.

From the very beginning, they knew that some things were wrong. Like killing, stealing, lying, destroying.

How did they know? They were created to know, and they were given to know. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)

Along the way (beginning in the Garden), God’s definitions of right and wrong were questioned, then perverted by some. And people still cry out for justice, as they have from the beginning. God himself said that Abel’s blood cried out from the ground (Genesis 4:10). The perversion of justice demanded a penalty – death. (Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23)

The oldest of civilizations devised codes of laws and systems of justice, attempting to get back to the beginning, to the Garden, perhaps.

Back in the 1980’s when Tim and I first got involved in politics, an irate woman shouted at us in a meeting, “You can’t legislate morality!” She was angry at our stances on various issues. Especially our pro-life stances. (We were actively, vocally opposed to removing the pro-life plank from the state and national Republican Party platforms.)

“Sure you can,” I answered, when I could get a word in. “That’s what legislation does. The question is, whose morality are you going to legislate?” I may not have persuaded her that day, but I hope she thought more about my question. Whose morality? Whose justice?

In the scriptures, the words justice and righteousness come from the same root word. Justice is a principle and a system of right and wrong as defined by the Creator. Righteousness is a state of being right in God’s eyes, in his opinion.

God gets to define “right,” and he gets to decide who is right. (When the word is translated justice, another word – judgment – is often found in that verse, meaning the decision and legal declaration of justice.)

Is justice always doing the right thing, never doing the wrong thing? But I couldn’t live up to that standard, no matter how hard I tried. So then, what is justice, to God? What is righteousness?

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) Hebrews 11 lists the “Heroes of Faith,” men and women who believed what God said to them and thus were considered righteous by God.

Now, I believe, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Cor. 5:21). Jesus took the penalty of sin, instead of me.

Consider:

  • Having their conscience seared as with a hot iron – I Timothy 4:2
  • Having their senses exercised to discern good and evil – Hebrews 5:14
  • Let justice roll – Amos 5:24
  • There is none good but God – Matthew 19:17
  • There is none righteous – Romans 3:10
  • Vengeance is mine, I will repay, said the Lord – Romans 12:19.

And he did. Jesus got the penalty in my place, satisfied God’s requirements of justice, and I get his grace instead.