Values — JUSTICE— An Introduction
“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:7
“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Psalm 82:3
Justice — the quality of being just, impartial, or fair; the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments; the administration of law; the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action; conformity to truth, fact, or reason; righteousness.
“There ought to be a law!” “Do the right thing!” “That’s just not fair!” “You owe it to…”; “…be brought to justice.” “…make things right.” Then there are the common phrases, “Turn about is fair play.” “What goes around, comes around.”
All of these point to the idea of justice. When something is not right we feel that it ought to be made right.
Most often, justice and judgment go hand in hand because justice depends upon a set of laws, values or moral principles that need to be defended on behalf of the poor, the weak, the disenfranchised and disadvantaged particularly when they have been defrauded by the powerful.
Justice seeks to right all inequity of opportunity, access to, or righteous claims to possession or reward. Justice is not about guaranteeing equal outcomes or reward for effort invested. Justice is not about robbing from anyone to give to someone else. That is an egregious act of injustice. A diligent hardworking individual works hard and sacrifices all his life to lay up an inheritance for himself and his children, then in the name of “justice” has to give it all away to other people who did absolutely nothing to earn it.
A widow is defrauded by an insurance company not willing to pay her the full value of her deceased husbands life insurance, claiming a never before heard of technicality. But a just judge rules in her favor and awards her punitive damages 10 times the value of the insurance policy in order to punish the company for their behavior. That is justice. At least it would be if it ever happens.
The value of justice keeps us sensitive to those who cannot defend themselves, to offer aid and support to help them to restore to proper order what has been made wrong by the acts of thieves and other offenders. Justice keeps us grounded in an attitude of fairness so that we treat all people with respect and equity. Like Jesus, justice makes us no respecter of persons to honor one group over another but to deal with each on the basis of their equality with all humankind.
Fairness, righteousness, equity, just scales, balances are all the essence of justice. But justice is not the ultimate measure of the Kingdom of God. Just beyond justice stands God’s mercy, the ultimate expression of God’s grace.
For now, seek to do justice, because it is pleasing to God.
“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