Kitchen Table Conversation: Justice

What is justice

And what it isn’t

“Here is My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom I take great delight. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.” Matthew 12:18 (Isaiah 42:1-2)

justice.2

According to Dictionary.com:

Justice: the quality of being just

Just: guided by truth, reason and impartiality

Justice has nothing to do with punishment. It has nothing to do with anger or revenge.

Oh – to the world it means punishment. To the world it means anger and revenge. But aren’t we supposed to be different than the world? In it, but not of it?

So what does that mean, and what did Jesus say about justice?

Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect the more important aspects of the lawjustice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23 emphasis mine)

Jesus talked about why an ‘eye for an eye,’ and ‘hate your enemy,’ doesn’t work if you are born again. (Matthew 5:38-39; Matthew 5:43-44) He told us why punishment doesn’t work if you are born again. (Matthew 9:13)

Jesus didn’t make up these concepts out of thin air. He was correctly interpreting God’s Word for his followers and the teachers of religious law. He let them know the way they had been interpreting the Word of God for all those years had been wrong; they had used God Word to shame, exclude and punish people instead of grant grace and mercy.

Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34, emphasis mine)

When Christians show bias toward groups of people, point fingers at them, accuse them of being evil, tell them they are going to hell, we can no longer rationalize this behavior as just and right. This behavior is not guided by truth, reason and impartiality. This behavior is not led by the Holy Spirit. This behavior does not lead people toward Jesus.

Learn to do what is right.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows. (Isaiah 1:17)

He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited. (Isaiah 11:4)

The Lord longs to be gracious and merciful to you.
He rises to have compassion on you.
The Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all those who long for him. (Isaiah 30:18)

Our denomination doesn’t matter; our political affiliation doesn’t matter. Our accomplishments don’t matter. To truly show justice, we must surrender our own wants, our own agendas, our own rights to God’s. We must pray to make His desires our desires.

We must open our hearts and minds to receive His unceasing gift of unconditional love, scandalous grace and outrageous forgiveness. Until we allow ourselves to accept His unrelenting and lavish love, grace and forgiveness, we are unprepared to give away the overflow to those around us.

It is in the giving away of love, grace and forgiveness we show justice. It is in the unbiased, compassionate offering of love, grace and forgiveness we allow ourselves to be guided by truth, reason and impartiality. It is as we bestow love, grace and forgiveness, no matter who the recipient, we begin to see the beneficiary through the eyes of Jesus.