Today’s word is JUSTICE.
There are many things you can do to “process” this word today:
Think on it.
Look it up in Scripture if you choose. An easy way to look up biblical texts on the topic is to go to biblegateway.com and do a search on the word.
Discuss it with others.
I’m sure you can think of others. Whatever you choose to do to process this word today, please check back in at the end of the day and let’s have a discussion about your thoughts, experiences, etc.
To see the introduction and table of contents for The One Word Devotional Series, click here. Remember, for this series, the actual devotional thoughts are found in the comments.
9 thoughts on “JUSTICE – Day 4 of The One Word Devotional”
I’ve been thinking of doing a sermon series on Micah 6:8 – Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God (paraphrase). So, maybe that can be fodder for some of our discussion today. Of course, as usual with The One Word Devotional, feel free to explore the word in other ways, too.
Also note, Matthew 23:23 is a New Testament reference to the principles in Micah 6:8.
My parents just rented the movie version of the Lone Ranger. In it Tonto and the ranger argue about what justice is. Is it something you take for yourself or is it up to the government to deal out? By the end, it is implied that neither is really morally sound, but justice should still be sought. As a Christian, I believe justice comes from God, but when it happens is on his time table.
I too believe ultimate justice will only come through God on His timetable. Still, we are commanded to “do” and “practice” justice (see biblical references above). Of course, I’m speaking in terms of the justice we are to meet out to others (both individually in our personal lives, as well as corporately – implying group measures in the form of standards or even laws, I suppose).
As to justice we’d like for ourselves, there’s an Oswald Chambers devotional I love on that topic. I’ll post it separately.
Here’s the Oswald Chambers devo:
The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance
. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
I’m feeling as though I’m being very “studious” and philosophical on this topic today, which is all well and good, but I’m going to spend some time this afternoon thinking in terms of personal application as well. Not sure yet if that means my behavior towards or on behalf of others, or if it means in my own expectations about how others behave towards me. Stay tuned …
My first thought when seeing this word was that I want justice for others, but not for myself. I guess I was thinking of others in the sense of people who do wrong needing to be brought to justice. But it’s scary to think of God holding me accountable for the sins in my life. Can’t have it both ways!
Then there are situations like Jeffrey Dahmer, who proclaimed to be a Christian late in his life. Justice, I guess, was done on earth as he was imprisoned and beaten to death, but how would God provide justice in this case? Has it been done? Might I live next door to him in paradise? Is that just?
I found this in Wikipedia (SO IT MUST BE TRUE….)
“For advocates of the theory that justice is part of natural law (e.g., John Locke), it involves the system of consequences that naturally derives from any action or choice. In this, it is similar to the laws of physics: in the same way as the Third of Newton’s laws of Motion requires that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, justice requires according individuals or groups what they actually deserve, merit, or are entitled to. Justice, on this account, is a universal and absolute concept: laws, principles, religions, etc., are merely attempts to codify that concept, sometimes with results that entirely contradict the true nature of justice.”
I believe our society has mixed up the concept of justice with our perception of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’. It is an ‘injustice’ that some people live in poverty while others dine on lobster.
I’ve chewed on this a lot already today, and I guess I don’t believe justice can exist without a clear definition of right and wrong. God is the ultimate decider of right and wrong — obviously each culture has created it’s own definition so we must go to a higher power to find truth. I guess I see justice as only being on the ‘wrong’ side — if someone does something against the ultimate law, he or she should suffer adequate consequences. However, there aren’t always equal consequences if someone does right…I don’t consider that an application of justice.
Wow — as I read this I realize I’m all over the board. Have to think on it some more.
LikeLiked by 1 person
If I think about justice as referred to in Micah 6:8 (Lisa’s first comment above), it seems to have a relational sense. It’s about how we live with/in relation to each other and God. It’s more about putting things right relationally (where they’ve gotten tangled up or gone astray) than about rights or responsibilities we have as citizens. In this sense, justice has to begin at home–with behaviors and attitudes and kindnesses and truth and making amends–not simply with laws that are (appropriately) written to alleviate or make amends (via laws or policies) for social injustices which are also a reality, and important for us as to attend to as citizens of a country/nation.
There’s one more image I have. It’s about the way we’re wired internally (as individuals). When injustice has been done, there’s a lot of relational ‘re-wiring’ that needs to happen. Again, it’s about putting things right that have gone wrong. I’d like to think that’s part of the unseen work of God’s Holy Spirit in me personally–whether the person who wronged me is willing to be ‘reconciled’/re-wired in relationship to me or not. Sometimes personal relationships do get made right over time. Sometimes they don’t, but God still cares about the way relational injustices have ‘messed us up’ by rewiring what God intended to have wired in a positive way. To make that right is also part of ‘doing justice’ — not just on our side, but on God’s side. Perhaps it’s part of the way we think about sins committed against us, not just sins we’ve committed against others?
LikeLiked by 2 people
when i think of justice, i trend to think of fairness…but i don’t think that’s necessarily accurate. For example, in the story about both the Prodigal Son and the overseer who pays everyone the same amount for varying amounts of work (no snazzy title there), the whole point is that grace isn’t fair. It is easy (relatively speaking) to say “our society needs to be more just!” But it is much harder to live it: i seek to be understood, but am not so eager to understand; i want to be heard, but an slow to listen; I want others to give generously, but am slow to take out my wallet. I guess…I feel like true justice has a bit of consistency to it..
Good thoughts, Natalie.